Over the next few months we will write some articles on using software to preach. If you haven’t already seen Scott’s series on using the iPad for preaching you should check it out. We start with the most popular software on the planet for making presentations and that is PowerPoint. As churches adopt technology and provide computers and LCD projectors, using visuals during a message will become the norm. In many ways this can enhance the message and help leave a lasting impression on the hearts and minds of the audience. The old saying is true that “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Here are some things to consider in using PowerPoint (or similar presentation software) during a message.
1. Don’t forget the Holy Spirit
There is a potential tendency to start with the visuals and make it “appealing” before having a message from the Spirit to share. The visuals should just be there to complement the message and not to replace it. Dazzling people with images, video and audio won’t be a substitute for the leading of the Holy Spirit. Make sure that comes first.
2. Make sure the visuals make sense
Just because you have this amazing picture of a man standing in the rubble after an earthquake doesn’t mean you should use it just anywhere in the presentation. Be careful to pick visuals that will enhance your point and make it more understandable.
3. Avoid the cheese
I’ve seen some really cheesy messages in my time and I can tell you that they take away from the message, not add to it. Stay away from annoying sound effects and animated clipart unless it really applies. Objects that fly across the screen can be distracting as well. Keep your presentation simple, to the point and respectable. This will keep the message you are preaching respectable too.
4. Make sure it works
I have seen this happen many times. A preacher comes with a PowerPoint ready to go and move it to the computer at the church and it doesn’t work. Pictures or video are missing, fonts are not installed and throw everything out of whack. Make sure you bring everything you need to show your presentation. And one last tip: make sure you know ahead of time if the church you are preaching at has the equipment you need. No sense in spending hours on your presentation when they don’t even have an LCD projector.
In subsequent articles we will address some practical dos and don’ts for making your presentation the most effective. If you have any stories to tell about presentations that went well or poorly we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.