How To Create A Message Map

There have been more times than I can count when I’ve just stared at the screen not knowing what to write.  This is frustrating as a communicator.  You know you have a message to deliver; however you just don’t know:

Message Map

What To Say Or How To Say It

You might have an idea, or a point you want to make; however, you struggle in how to develop it.  While there are many habits and strategies to get the creative juices flowing, a message map is one of the more physical ways of bringing your idea to life.  

A message map is a creative way of outlining what it is you want to say, using a basic formula.  To build one you first need:

  • A Destination: This typically comes first.  Where do you want to take students?  What do you want them to know and do?  When you have a destination for your talk it allows others to know what’s the bottom line.
  • A Point Of Truth: While your bottom line is your destination, the scripture is your compass.  It basically points you in the right direction.  Without this your destination might not have weight.  This not only tells students why this is important to you, but why it’s important to God.

Now, you need a starting point.  To do that you need to:

  • Name The Problem: Why are your teenagers not at the point of destination?  Why weren’t you there?  Start out your messages by explaining what’s missing, and what’s not right.  This can be shared with your own testimony, or with a story that gives the problem tangible features.

Once you’ve accomplished your beginning and end it’s about moving your audience forward.  This comes by expanding on:

  • Relevant Examples: Whether it’s naming the problem, describing the destination or expanding on the Truth you need to help them apply it to their lives.  This comes from doing some research, and knowing your audience.  Sit with the scripture, read commentaries and use this to give your message map some features.
  • Action Steps: A message or talk is more than just teaching, it’s a commissioning.  After you’ve pointed them in the right direction, you want to show them how to get there.  This is where you fold in spiritual habits and disciplines.  Give them a challenge and set them up for success.

Again, a message map is a creative process so make sure experiment with different mediums.  You can use a whiteboard, power point, or huge rolls of paper.  Utilize different colors, shapes and arrows.  (Click here for a sample)

Take your message development seriously by finding ways to pour energy into it.  Build margin into your schedule where you have time to elaborate.  Bring others into the process and watch your message grow and impact those who are listening.

Do you use message mapping?  If so what methods do you use?