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    Raising the bar: Church Slides 101

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    The font plays a huge role!

     

    Which church slide is easier to read? The congregation has just seconds to take in the words on the screens and then sing them out loud.  Above all the screens have to be easy to read. Font size, style and color is important.  

    How do you figure out what works best for your church?  Stand in the back of the room and look at the PowerPoint.  Here's a list of questions to ask yourself:

    • Can you read it easily?
    • Is the font large enough?  Is it too large?  
    • Are there too many words on the screen?  
    • Are there too few?  Are the word arrange the way the song is sung? 
    • Is the contrast between the background and the letters strong enough?
    • Is the font style an easy font to read?  

    If you are using an Envision Worship PowerPoint - all of this is already thought out and integrated into the PowerPoint Template.

    After you have made your choices - check in with a positive older member of your congregation - preferable one who sits towards the back of the church. Ask them to let you know if they ever have a hard time reading the words on the screens.  

    It's always all about worship.  

    The lyrics on the slides above are from "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" written by Cililla D. Martin in 1905.

    How to Make a Church PowerPoint

     

     

    How to Create a Church PowerPoint

     

    By now you are wondering "What did I get myself into?! Yes - I know how to create a PowerPoint but I've never done a PowerPoint like this before!" Don't worry - you can do it! I have been in your shoes and I am here to help you create an amazing worship PowerPoint for your church.

    I recommend designing for one song at a time. Depending on the sermon topic you could have a wide range of song lyrics - joy, despair, hope, prayerful, etc.  Normally the opening songs are powerful and full of life to get the worship experience started. The middle songs tend to be prayerful and quiet and the songs at the end of the service are full of hope and positive energy.  

    It is hard to picture one image that could communicate all those different types of feelings!  Can you picture an image that would work for Matt Redman's 10,000 Reasons and Mercy Me's I Can Only Imagine?  Or if you create PowerPoints for hymns: Thy Word and Joyful, Joyful, We adore Thee?  Each of these songs evokes very different feelings and need different images.

    So how do you pick which image to use? Good news - this is the fun part!  You are in this position for a reason - believe it or not - like it or not - you were called to lead the worship visuals at your church.  Now you just have to figure out how to fulfill that Call.

    The first thing to do is pray - invite God into the process.  Then turn on the music, shut your eyes and listen to the song.  If you are at band or choir practice just sit in the back and listen.  If not, then YouTube is a wonderful free resource.  Just search for the song and pick a singing group that looks like it might be similar to your church's music team.  For instance, if your church has a band, choose a contemporary band; if you have a choir, choose a choir.  The best choice is the original artist's version as the lyrical quality with be at its finest.

    Turn on the music - BUT DON'T LOOK AT THE IMAGES ON YOUTUBE!  Sorry for shouting - but you were the one that was chosen - first try to figure out the images yourself. A lot of videos on YouTube use images that are a cheesy or have nothing to do with the lyrics.  I once saw a video welcoming the Holy Spirit to worship and the image was a baby duck. Really - a baby duck?!  Hmmm… how about a dove or an amazing (non-scary) flame or a sky full of northern lights - now we're talking!

    So you have your eyes shut and you are listening to the music - and you start to see things in your head. Hmmm…they are talking about hope - what does that look like - a beautiful sunrise/sunset, a seeker with open arms or the sun breaking over the horizon? Perhaps they are singing about despair. How about a person bent over in prayer? Or maybe they are singing about joy. How about a dancer celebrating on the beach or children jumping for joy or a sunrise? You get the idea - let the music take you to new places. After you have an idea of what images would work – go find them!

    Envision Worship is a marvelous resource for you. Since it is designed specifically for churches, you can search it by worship categories – personal faith, change, Holy Week, Christmas, children, stars, and many other choices. Go to Envision Worship and look through the PowerPoints for the images that you imagined. Listen to the music while you search the images. It will be there - all of sudden you will say: “Oh - there it is.”

    Great - now you have your PowerPoint template - how do you put the words in it?  The great news is the Envision Worship PowerPoints are designed to be easy to use and are especially designed for worship. You are given different font sizes and styles. These were selected to make the PowerPoint easy to read. In addition, the animation is already built in - the slide will transition seamlessly and professionally.  Title slides are included along with prompts to remind you to add the composer, copyright and CCLI number. 

    Adding the lyrics is easy!  If you are designing for contemporary songs then most likely your church has a contract with CCLI - the church music licensing company.  Get your church's log on information and search for the song. Once you find it click on the Lyrics tab and then copy and paste the lyrics into your PowerPoint slides. If you are doing a hymn, you can google the hymn lyrics. You will need to double check with your hymnal to make sure you have the right version.  You may have to make a few changes. Or you can just type in the lyrics.

    Be careful how you are dividing the words across the slides.  It's important to get the phrases together. You don't want to break the text mid-sentence and have to go to the next slide. The tech team will have a hard time getting the next slide up in time and there will be an uncomfortable gap. I've added a sample slide to illustrate how to divide the slides.

    Each song should have a title slide, lyric slides and then one last blank image slide at the end. The last blank image slide lets the music play out after the lyrics are done.  Make sure you hit save button!

    You did it! You designed a PowerPoint for worship! This is the beginning of an amazing journey.

    Churches: PowerPoint vs Video Presentations

    A Worship PowerPoint is unlike any other PowerPoint presentation in the world. Within seconds of the slide flashing up on that big screen, several hundred people will start singing the lyrics – hopefully at the top of their lungs! Designing worship PowerPoints is much more fun than your traditional work/school presentation.

    Why PowerPoint?

    It is amazing how many choices there are for worship visuals.  PowerPoint is just one of many. I have tried different presentation platforms and chose PowerPoint.

    There were three really important reasons:

    1. Quality images and design
    2. Cost
    3. Recruiting volunteers

    I want the worship visuals to strengthen and build the worship experience. I want to be able to design for the song. What are the words saying? What kind of beat or rhythm is there?  Does the image strengthen the worship experience? I wante more than swirling olive green or a fake Jesus. I want it to feel authentic, contemporary and real.

    Quality images and design: I love all that you can do in PowerPoint. You can use still images and videos. You can have incredible backgrounds that come from numerous sources: your own camera; Envision Worship, stock photo sites and congregation members.

    PowerPoint allows you to quickly design a service that engages and efficiently serves all the needs of worship. Trust is a huge part of worship visuals. Trust by the congregation that the words will be correct, in the right order and easy to read. You have to meet the needs of every age group: 5 year olds to 90 year olds. In PowerPoint, you can easily control the font size, adapt text boxes to increase readability and move slides easily. You can create custom animations for title slides. And break the lyrics where you want them to break. The PowerPoint software is designed to be an information vehicle – there is wonderful flexibility in the design options.

    Other Programs: One program I tried ran videos in the background. That was kind of cool. But many of the videos were color on color with a slow flowing movement. I’m not sure what an olive green flowing background has to do with the lyrics of Amazing Grace or 10,000 Reasons. They didn’t seem to truly connect with the lyrics. There are religious videos that could be purchased but many did not look authentic and often the speed was off so they cycled through in overdrive.

    Secondly, I could not control when the lyrics broke between slides. Mid-sentence the lyrics would break on to another screen. Eventually I was able to wrestle them into place but it took a lot of work. To be fair, it was a while ago that I tried this other format so hopefully they have improved it. I choose PowerPoint and I have always been happy with the results – especially since I have fun with it!

    Cost: PowerPoint comes with most Microsoft software packages and is often included in the cost of the computer. The cost of additional worship visual platforms can be up to $400. Then you will need to purchase the media for the program. If you are using PowerPoint you can basically skip the $400 additional cost.  

    Recruiting the volunteer tech team: Try to think of someone in your life that has not seen, created or clicked through a PowerPoint. Everyone is comfortable with PowerPoint and most people have created a PowerPoint presentation.

    Feeling comfortable with the worship presentation program is very important. You will need a fairly large and evolving tech team to cover 52 weeks’ worth of service(s) year after year.  Recruiting volunteers is easier when they believe they will be successful at the new task.

    Plus what happens when a last minute change is needed to the worship service and you are sick or on vacation? These are all important factors to weigh when you make your decision.

    I know of many who use PowerPoint and many who use the other presentation software. The majority of the churches who project lyrics use PowerPoint. Take your time making your decision. Listen to your gut – you are here for a reason. Choose a program and then go for it! God bless!

     

    Welcome!

    I'll never forget the Sunday I walked in to church and saw these new huge screens on the walls. Little did I know that my life would be transformed in that moment. I started a journey that lead to this website. But the journey is far from over - in fact is is getting better by the moment - you have joined in! I really mean that. I'm excited that you are now traveling with me and Envision Worship. 

    Welcome aboard!
    Lisa