Great question – thank you for asking. The screens are one of the first things that people see when they walk into church. It’s the technology – it draws their eyes. The right image will set the tone for a meaningful worship experience. During Advent we want to capture the feel of the season. We will often use the same welcoming slide for all four Sundays.
I find it helpful to ask the clergy what their sermon theme will be for Advent and Christmas. A very effective way to get at the heart of their vision is to ask “what is the take away you want the congregation to leave the worship service with?” Perhaps they will say they want people to know that Christ is the light in the darkness or anticipation and waiting for Christ to come. Likely they will base each week on the symbolism communicated in the advent wreath: Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.
Once you understand where the clergy are heading, you can go looking for an image that will support and deepen that worship theme. A good question to ask when selecting an image is: will this contribute to the worship theme? It might be tempting to put up a gorgeous Christmas tree or an ornament filled slide. Often those images communicate the more secular part of Christmas and do not build the individual’s worship experience.
Candles are amazingly effective. Depending on the image you select you can communicate waiting, hope, joy, and peace. A Christmas star can do the same with the added benefit of communicating Christ’s love through the ages. A silhouette of a person searching the horizon is another possibility. Silhouettes are important and effective because you want everyone in the congregation to be fully invested in advent – not just one sex, age group or race. If the theme is on the journey you could use a lantern or an abstract path well lit by a starry night. There are lots of ways to go – you just need to give yourself the time and grace to find it.
Action Plan: Connect with your clergy, ask the music director for the songs, pray and give yourself time to listen to that inner voice inside you. Then go look for the image that captures the mood for advent.