Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines metaphor like this:
noun \ˈme-tə-ˌfȯr also -fər\
1)  a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money); broadly : figurative language — compare simile
2) an object, activity, or idea treated as a metaphor : symbol

So for this definition we are looking at an object that is a symbol of something else. Essentially it is using some object that you can show or hand out during your message that helps to make your message stick.

3 reasons why you should consider using a metaphor during your message:

1) It is visual/tactile – it is something that your audience can see and feel and perhaps smell. It sticks out as something more than just the words you are saying. Hearing is one level, seeing is another level and touching is even another level. The more senses you can incorporate the better!

2) It is memorable – like any meal, your messages may not all stand out and be completely memorable, but they are what nourishes the soul just like a meal nourishes the body. You don’t remember every meal you have eaten in your life, there are some that stand out, but most are just part of keeping you healthy and alive. When you add a metaphor you are helping it to be one that is memorable. There just might be something specific that sticks because they saw your metaphor. Like that awesome meal with steak, crab legs and shrimp!!!

3) It is connecting your message – a metaphor helps to connect the whole concept, you are trying to teach, to your message. Sometimes there are those moments, when they see the metaphor, that the light bulb turns on and they “get it.”

Here is a list of metaphors you could use. It may be an idea starter for you for a message or happen to fit with something you are already speaking on.

Rock/Stone – this has all sorts of possibilities. You could use it when you are talking about the stoning of Stephen. It could symbolize Jesus as the chief cornerstone. It could be something you hand out to all the students and let them write on it with a Sharpie a name of Jesus that is significant to them. It could represent sin and give everyone a stone to throw into a body of water and talk about God forgetting their sin when you confess it to Him.

Gummy Bears – place them in the sun in your car (still in the bag) and let them melt. You can do it quicker in a microwave, but that lessens the point. Then talk about how the sun melted the gummy bears together just like the Son melts us together. (total cheese…maybe you just want to do slices of American cheese instead..haha). Talk about unity here.

Arts & Crafts – something your young child (or someone else’s child) has made that does not have a lot of skill. It could represent the opposite of what it took to create us and the world. You could use it to talk about love. (the love that was put into it, even though it is not perfect it becomes something of beauty when you know who made it and why).

Scented candle – light it before your meeting starts and allow it to change the smell of the room. Talk about how we are a fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15). A small candle can have an affect on en entire room, so can one person have an affect on a school/community/family/world.

Hexbug – Turn one on and watch it aimlessly move around. It is much like so many people who have no direction in life. God gives us purpose and direction.

Digital Camera – talk about snapshots of life. Those moments that you remember. Are they things you are doing that you want to remember or do you wish you could press the delete button? Consider the choices you make every day.

These were a few things sitting in my office. You can use anything! Get creative. Not feeling that creative? Post a comment below with some things from your office or your home (OR Hit me up at with a picture?) and I would be happy to help you with a few ideas.