Posted on Apr 13 , 2015

No matter where in the world you find an Open Air Campaigners Missionary, you’ll find our signature “Paint Board” as an effective method to communicate Biblical truths.

Sometimes people ask me how I prepare a new paint message. So for those who are curious, and for those of you who also use the Paint Board, I hope this blog post will be interesting and helpful.

Recently I was scheduled to teach on “The Pharisee and the Tax Collector” from Luke, chapter 18. I had never taught that message from the Paint Board before, and here’s how I developed the message…

Step One: Pray

Of course prayer is essential, because without the Holy Spirit working, the unsaved cannot understand the message. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Step Two: Study the Passage

This makes sense. You can’t teach what you don’t know. So I familiarize myself with the passage from the Scriptures.

Also, sometimes there’s a message already prepared with notes on Open Air Campaigner’s National Website. You can check those out at: http://oacusa.org/messageoutlines.php.

And a lot of our Bible messages are adapted from the excellent curriculum, Creation to Christ, by New Tribes Missions. You can order that material at: http://www.ntmbookstore.com/creation-to-christ-childrens-edition-set-p/148970.htm.

Step Three: Develop an Outline

Figure out what you want to say and outline the main points. Use messages others have taught, as well as the New Tribes materials to help. Most importantly, ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate His Word to you.

Step Four: Draw It on Paper

I grab a pencil and a piece of letter-sized paper, and I sketch out what I think the final painting might look like. I put in where there might be “ladder lettering,” “wax lettering,” important drawings, etc.

Step Five: Ladder Lettering Trick

One of the hardest and MOST FRUSTRATING parts of preparing a message is figuring out how much space to allot for “ladder lettering.” Ladder Lettering is the OAC-Famous letters that start out as squares, but as we paint in lines, the squares turn into letters. They’re often used as the TITLE for our message, and used other places in the paintings as well.

The problem is that if you made the squares too large, you might RUN OUT OF SPACE before you’re done with your title. If your title is “YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN,” you don’t want to run out of paper and only have “YOU MUST BE BO” painted in.

If you made the squares too small, then not only are they harder to read, but it looks wrong to have all this blank space!

So I recently picked up a cheapo 4-foot ruler from amazon.com and came up with a neat trick!

The standard OAC paint board is 4-feet wide, so I clip the 4-foot ruler to the sides like in this photo below…

FYI, I ordered the ruler from amazon.com for about $13 with free shipping at: http://amzn.com/B00002N7U4.

The I do the following to make the ladder-lettering a piece-of-cake! I present to you…

The Very Cool and Easy Ladder Lettering Trick!!!

  1. Write out the title, and count how many letters and spaces. In this example, the title is “EARN OR GIFT?” and that comes out to 13 letters, spaces, and question mark.
  2. Figure out how much space you have for the title. In this case, I have about 29 inches.
  3. Hey, remember when we were in school and we said we’d never need Math when we grew up? Well, we were wrong. We need math here! You divide the space you have by the number of boxes, and figure out how wide each box can be. So 29 inches divided by 13 comes out to 2.23 inches each box. 2.23 is kinda ugly, so I round up to 2.25 because that’s a lot easier to see on a ruler.
  4. Using the ruler, make pencil marks based on the width you figured out for each box. In my case, it’s every 2.25 inches. You can see it in this photo.

  5. Then remove the ruler, and using the pencil marks, use a black marker to draw out the ladder lettering squares. They should be spaced perfectly!!!!

  6. That’s it!!!
  7. For this message, I had to use the Ladder Lettering Trick twice, because I had to make room for “LAKE OF FIRE” in a very precise location.

    Step Six: Sketch the Message

    Using a pencil, draw in the whole painting. Then go over it with black marker.

    Step Seven: Paint the Message

    Now it’s time to paint the message, let it dry, and add any wax to it that will be needed.

    Step Eight: Preach the Message!!!

    Now go find some kids and/or adults, setup your board, and faithfully teach God’s Word using the Paint Board!

    Here’s what it looked like for me to teach this message at our weekly inner-city Kid’s Bible Club:

    And here’s what the painting looked like when I was done teaching it.

    I hope this tutorial was helpful! I want to help build up and equip Christians to reach the Lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ! Please find other free resources at: http://resources.Luke-15.org.

    Thank you for your prayers, notes of encouragement, and financial support. Without all of those, we could not be reaching the lost for Jesus Christ!

    Please feel free to share this with others you think would be encouraged by it, and who will pray!

    all for Jesus,

    Mark (and family)

3 Comments → “ Creating a New Paint Message ”

  1. Rob George

    2 years ago

    Well done Mark! You do great boards! And the ruler idea is a great tip. The old adage ‘pencil before paint’ still holds true, doesn’t it!
    I find doing spaces between words the size of the letter i looks good. Gives you a tad more room on longer phrases, too!
    Hope the training in Boston goes well next week!
    Bless ya heaps!

  2. Matthew Harvey

    2 years ago

    I’m always amazed by the thought and precision and artistry that goes into some of the sketchboard messages you guys do. I remember long ago (back in the 80s and early 90s) when we often just sort of threw them together — and it showed!!

    Good artistry (or at least workmanlike attention to detail) makes a difference in clear communication and is not just an unimportant thing — it helps advance the gospel.

  3. Ray Cobb

    2 years ago

    Mark always does a great job. He even scolded me one time for not painting under my clips.

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