Does your church have screens in the sanctuary? Are you contemplating adding screens to enhance your worship services? If so, I’d like to share some tips with you for using visual media in preaching.
1. Prepare a good sermon.
Visual aids are good but they’re not the most important part of the preaching experience. No amount of fancy graphics can make up for a poorly crafted sermon. Start with the sermon first and put the time in to make sure you’re communicating well before adding any visuals. Once you’ve completed your sermon, you should be able to give the media team the sermon title, scriptures, and sermon points. If you feel the need to use illustrations, I’ll cover those below.
2. Less is more.
Keep your graphics simple. Too much movement can be a distraction. When I first started preaching with slides, I used fading transitions and dissolving transitions. I learned from some members that those transitions were distracting them from hearing the message. Now, our media team doesn’t use any transition animations and the screens are more of an asset than a distraction. Also, note: wild colors and faded backgrounds can also be a distraction.
3. Use illustrations strategically.
Illustrative photos, graphics, maps, and charts can be helpful but they can’t be too frequent. It’s great for example to have a map displaying the route Jesus took when he visited Samaria in John 4. But having a picture of Jesus, then a map, and a picture of the woman at the well is a little too much. A single photo of a historical figure you’re referencing in a story can be helpful. But only have that picture displayed while the story is told. The rule of thumb is be sure to only use illustrations when you believe it will have a significant impact on the congregation’s understanding.
4. Use appropriate illustrations.
Please screen your illustrations to make sure they are appropriate. Be sure the people in the photos are dressed appropriately. For example, you may have a great photo of a group of women, but if one of them is wearing a low cut shirt or tank top showing cleavage, don’t use it. Details like this can easily be missed. Also, make sure the illustration is appropriate for your audience ethically, demographically, and socially.
5. Make your slides easy to read.
What I mean by this is make your slides with the people in the rear of the church in mind. The text should be large enough for people with poor eye sight at the rear of the church to read it. The text shouldn’t over populate the screen either. So don’t try to cram too much information on the screen. Also, make the contrast great enough for others to see. A yellow slide with orange text will be harder to read than a black slide with white text. Also, try not to use red text since it is usually used for emergencies.
If you’ve got questions, feel free to leave it in the comment section below.