Propping Up the Sermon (Sept-Dec 2003)

By Matt Dabbs

By Karen Hill

Be creative.
Build suspense. Be unpredictable. Don’t overuse. Props can be powerful, but overuse dilutes the interest. Don’t tip your hand too early. Keep it intriguing. If the entire church knows you’ve sent out an APB for a purple iguana, worshipers will expect to see a purple iguana on Sunday morning.

Know your props.
Practice handling your materials ahead of time. Know how they work, how you’ll integrate them into the message.

Anticipate problems.
Avoid items that are fragile, expensive, or rare (unless they belong to you). You don’t want to risk breaking Brother Ben’s antique kaleidoscope.

Be unabashed in event of prop failure.
If Flo’s clay head falls into the laps of the front pew people, be ready with a one-liner (“somebody’s head is gonna roll over this”).

Adjust prop size to scale of auditorium or worship center.
General rule:  props should be large enough to make sense to the back pew folks.

Interact naturally with your props.
Be prepared to leave your notes and use your props to avoid a stiff presentation.

Avoid being hokey.
The preacher should be the preacher, not an actor.

Maintain a good balance of message and prop.
A useful prop supports, yet doesn’t overpower, the message.

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This author published 1598 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of


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