Each chalk talk takes a lot of preparation. First, a basic plan is made.
Then a rough drawing is made. This is the rough drawing for … a new one!
Finally, we get to the easel and draw it out. It generally gets a few minor changes after that. This is the new chalk talk we created. It is called… well, we don’t exactly have an official name for it yet. Its main theme is shepherds, starting with the Christmas shepherds (Luke 2).
Whenever we have some presentations coming up, preparation time comes. We have to start by finding a day that works for everyone, and when we can have the basement all to ourselves for a few days. Preparation makes a lot of dust, so we have to evacuate everything and everyone from the basement and cover what cannot be evacuated. Generally, we do about four to six backgrounds at the same time. Once the backgrounds are complete, the blacklight image is drawn in. This has to be done after dark so that we can see what we are doing. (That’s not hard to achieve at this time of year: the sun sets at 4 PM.) When all that is complete (generally about two days after the initial setup), everything gets hair-sprayed to keep the picture from rubbing off or smearing during transport.
Oh, and then there is one more step.
When it actually comes time to do the presentation, we try to arrive about an hour or two earlier than the official beginning time. This is to leave time to set up when there aren’t too many people around. It also leaves time for us to deal with technical difficulties, such as light bulbs breaking or simply not working, wire nuts falling off, outlets that don’t seem to work, bolts missing, easel legs being mixed up, and dimmers breaking in the “off” position. I’ve probably missed a few, but these have all really happened to us. In case you are wondering, the dimmer wasn’t too hard to fix: all we had to do was open up our control box, undo half a dozen wire nuts, crack the dimmer casing to open it, unscrew the nut holding it together, find the switch, flip it to the “on” position, and then put it all back together! This is partly why we always try to have someone praying for each presentation we do. Of course, the main thing for which to pray is that souls would respond to the message of salvation and turn to the Saviour.
Another important part of our team is Nathanael, our sound technician. He takes care of all the preparation of background music and sees that the speaker can be appropriately amplified so that all can hear the message, even those who may be somewhat hard of hearing.
After dozens (or even hundreds) of hours of preparation, the final presentation may take only 15 to 30 minutes. We have found, however, that people remember these presentations for years afterwards, and our prayer is that the message may be received and impact lives for eternity.