Churches have fully integrated with technology within the church services with the sound equipment, projectors or televisions, and computers. Of course, this has created a culture around how to use this technology within a church service. Whether it is the worship team using PowerPoint so that the church is in unison with their praises to the Lord or a video is shown of missionaries working overseas with a Compassion International camp with a hundred students to provide them with food, education, and the love and message of Christ, we have to ensure that our presentations are effective and done well.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to make for a better presentation.
1) Do Pick The Presentation Software Best For Your Church
Some people rely very little on presentation software and a sole volunteer to run everything from sound to the projector to the lights. Anything more than PowerPoint would be beyond the budget and many times skill set for the church and so the Office Suite is perfect. Other churches are looking for precision that can be found in MediaShout with its pixel by pixel management or flexibility and easy of use through ProPresenter that allows you to create a pool of slides for quick uses. Whatever you decide to go with, do not just purchase it because it was the cheapest or someone used it once. Do your research, know your needs and resources, and have a plan.
2) Don’t Be The Lone Ranger
Even on a team, leaders can have a lone ranger mentality that they have to plan everything and become the lynchpin to everything. Great leaders know how to hold the reins loosely, delegate well, and avoid micromanaging in places you should leave alone. The last thing a tech person needs is for someone with little to no experience to direct on a foundational level when their time could be served elsewhere and the person is left to do what they were asked to do in the first place. Trust in your team and make everything you do great.
3) Do Trainings and Conferences As A Team
People are asked to be on your team for a reason, because they have some kind of willingness and probably skill. That being said, we all should be life-long learners in what we are doing well. There are great trainings and conferences out there for church teams for technology, church presentations, and doing Sunday well. Even better, there is great material and experience out there to do this locally. Encourage and even expect all of your team, staff and volunteers to jump on board and continue to do what you do better each time.
4) Don’t Write Full Paragraphs On Slides
Presentation software is suppose to be something that enhances the presentation or service of the presenters. While the worship will have the full lyrics up for the songs to be song correctly, the person giving the sermon or presentation needs to recognize that they are playing by a different set of rules. Your slides should be minimal at best, offer a visual description or the images you are trying to convey, and leave the storytelling to the presenter. You are painting a picture and full sentences on the slide will take away and distract from it.
5) Do Use Different Mediums
People have different bents to learning. The traditional written and auditory ways of teaching are quite limited within the set of learning styles including tactile, kinesthetics, spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. Use videos, skits, images to enhance a story, art, and silence to allow for reflection. Sometimes that involves a great tech team and the right gadgets and other times it just needs a good artist with a canvas, some background music, and a spotlight. Do not complicate it, but make sure you use all of the learning styles.
6) Don’t Overuse Cheesey Clipart
Cheesey clipart out of Microsoft Word or online somewhere can be fun, but it can also be distracting. What is the focus suppose to be on, that you are sharing the joy of Christ for the community or that you have a yellow ball with a face that is smiling and overused in high school presentations? At the same time, remember that there is a bit of branding happening here. If that is of importance for you or your ministry, cheesey clipart will give off a high school level impression. A simple change or bit of investment can go a long way. Instead use photos of people you are directly ministering to or congregation members and lose the clipart.
7) Do Have A Backup Plan
Technology is a great tool and should be used to make your sermon, song, or skit go from good to great. Lights, sound, and videos can make this happen. But sometimes things go wrong that is out of your control, whether the Internet is out on Sunday, a projector bulb goes out and cannot be replaced for a week, or your microphone batteries die. This means that when volunteers and staff teams meet, discussions of how to handle these situations allow for people to be proactive instead of reactive which lends to a quicker and more efficient overall job.
8) Don’t Steal Images Without Proper Citations
If you have any kind of investment with church presentations, you know about Christian Copyright Licensing International or CCLI for all of the lyrics that you put up on the screen and you may also know about Christian Video Licensing International that is needed for any full length videos or short clips that are used in front of an audience. That being said, we all fall under the Creative Commons License for all media that is used and proper citation or limited use is expected for all media you use that you get from online, including all images, audio, and documents. As Christians in this modern world, we must tread faithfully to Christ and do everything without reproach.
9) Do Prepare
It is one thing to know what songs you are going to sing, main verses you are going to preach from, and when your part starts, but mistakes can easily still leak in to the system. Repetition needs to happen for effectiveness and better presentations. You can have your worship team on the right schedule, but if you do not practice with the tech team, you could be making some major mistakes in the service. If you incorporate more than just a talk from the pulpit, a skit to compliment it or a video of your missionaries, go over the game plan with everyone that is involved in the whole service, even if it it is an hour before the sermon.
10) Don’t Be Bad Storytellers
Christ was never boring. He did not sensationalize so that He could get a headline on the local news, but He also knew that His time was short and He needed to go for the punch. At the same time, He knew how to tell a great parable that would keep people thinking for days, months, and their whole life. We need to know how to tell the story of Christ, our church, and our own personal lives well. People do not connect to presentations with graphs, but do connect their own personal life with stories rich with emotions and memories. Do not manipulate but be great storytellers.
What is another basic do or don’t do that is needed for any church?