25 Church Presentation Tips, Tricks, and Hacks (Part Two)


Your church presentation ties the entire service together. If handled correctly, it moves the service from one element to the next by offering seamless transitions. This keeps the congregation focused and moving in the same direction. Using presentations during the sermon provides another avenue for information to make an impact on people’s lives. They’re not just hearing the word, they get to read along and visually connect to the most crucial parts of the message. Studies show that people retain more information when they’re able to see it as well as hearing it.

The key to a good presentation

The presentation should serve as an almost invisible tour guide that leads you through the proceedings pointing out areas of interest. You know you have a great presentation when no one is thinking about the presentation. Their attention is being drawn toward God and his Word. The moment that you’ve drawn attention to the presentation itself, it’s usually because people are being distracted by an overbearing element or some kind of mistake. When you’re putting together a presentation, your ultimate goal is to facilitate worship and weed out distractions. Creating presentations that move the sermon along without getting in the way requires things like:

Planning
Preparation
Teamwork
Communication

It doesn’t just happen on accident! You need to constantly learn and discover new ways to create and execute your church presentations with excellence. We figure you shouldn’t have to learn it all by trial and error. So we asked more than 5,000 pastors, worship leaders, and tech teams to give us their top tips, tricks, and hacks to creating and managing their presentations. Here are some the best responses we received.

Check Out 25 Church Presentations Tips, Tricks & Hacks (Part One)


26. “[Worship teams should] sing the songs the way you gave it to the tech, and the way you practiced it. When the wrong lyrics go up live, the presentation tech is automatically assumed to be wrong.”—David, Bridge of Life Community Church

27. “If you’re going to step out of the order of the songs, give prompts to the congregation, not that they need it, but so that the tech team can quickly find your place. For example, say, ‘Let’s sing the chorus again.’”—Anonymous

28. “[Worship leaders] if you switch a song or lyric or do something that’s not in the tech team’s script or is out of order, they will get mixed up. They can’t tell what song you’re doing until they hear familiar words. Then they’ll figure out which song, but they might not know which lyric it is. This is really scary for them.”—Heather, Cherry Grove Church of the Nazarene

29. “If your worship leader tends to be organic or fluid and jumps around to whatever verse or chorus they want, then the presenter/controller needs to understand the basic verses and basic chorus and so on. Participate in the practices, if any, to see how the performances are trending. Show the cues as they are practicing.”—Ben, Bethel Baptist

When it came to worship and tech teams, two distinct threads emerged:

Tech teams should consider themselves to be part of the worship team
Worship leaders need to realize that they’re leading the presentation team during a Sunday morning service
I was surprised at how much anxiety seemed to surround the issue of worship teams going off script on Sunday morning. It’s imperative that worship leaders recognize the stress that it places on the people running the presentation when they jump around or make spontaneous decisions during worship. This doesn’t mean that the worship leader can’t make off-the-cuff decisions when they feel the Spirit is moving, but they need to be keenly aware of the stress it puts on the team when they do. It shouldn’t be a regular occurrence unless an understanding is reached with the presentation team. Jump to the free download.

Creating the presentation
30. “Familiarize yourself with the entire service before you get started. This will give you a guideline for creating your presentation”—Mary, Grace and Peace Lutheran Church

Once you have all the components that will go into a service, you’re in a unique position to see the entire context and flow and make decisions that will aid the transition from one part into the next. It’s like having the top of the puzzle box. Once you see the big picture, it’s a lot easier to assemble the various pieces to facilitate it.

31. “I copy the upcoming events from a digital copy of the Sunday bulletin and paste it into a new text box. I then clean it up by timeframe (days or months). Then I add a control and loop it along with other announcements before the service.”—Patrick, Salvation Army San Diego Citadel

32. “Set up a master template for each different type of service, e.g. Holy Communion, Morning worship, etc. Then when you’re preparing an actual service, duplicate the master and insert specific lyrics, etc.”—Francesca, All Saint’s Church

33. “Use templates whenever possible as this will save you much time and effort.”—Jane

Knowing where you can cut corners without hurting the integrity of the service is a key. If you can create templates for various kinds of services, do it! It will save you a lot of time that you can pour into the more creative elements of script creation.

34. “Focus on complementing the message, not overwhelming it.”—Paula, Genesis Bible Church

35. “Create backgrounds that support the readings and theme.”—Mary, Grace and Peace Lutheran Church

This advice emerged in a number of ways from users, and it can’t be emphasized enough. The presentation serves the elements that make up the service. If you’re unnecessarily drawing attention to the presentation itself, you’re probably undermining its purpose.


 


36. “When displaying lyrics, look out for hanging words. Avoid single words (orphans) on a line unless it’s sung that way naturally. If possible, put a ‘return’ to break a sentence to two or more lines where there are natural pauses.”—Patrick, Salvation Army San Diego Citadel

37. “On lyric formatting: keep the words readable, it is better to put fewer of them up at a time. It is a balancing act though to get readable, consistent slides for the lyrics.”—Anthony, Zion Grace UMC

38. “Bigger sans serif fonts are best. Don’t crowd too many lines on one screen, especially for liturgy or congregational reading. Break the line where the congregation would naturally breathe. This goes for written out orders of worship, too.”—Brenda, East Heights UMC

There’s a real art to creating slides that are readable and draw people into worship. The most important thing is to weed out anything that’s a distraction. If your congregation can’t read it easily, it’s a distraction that takes away from the worship experience. Jump to the free download.

Choosing your elements
39. “Choose a video that can compliment your offering time.”—Mary, Grace and Peace Lutheran Church

40. “Fluidity and transitions are important. A jumpy presentation to me is a sloppy presentation.”—Chris, West Ward Church of God

This is where creating presentations requires creativity. It isn’t just a question of choosing a background that you can superimpose lyrics and verses over. It’s about creating an experience that draws the worshiper in.

41. “Be aware that the lighting in the sanctuary is going to have a different effect on the readability of the typeface than it looks in your home.”—Anonymous

I can’t count the times that a script created at home, in the office, or in coffee shop looked completely different when projected at church. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to troubleshoot your presentation on the equipment you’ll actually be using.

42. “If you are running multiple videos and or sound clips during one service, go ahead and make volume adjustments in your software before it is time to go live. That way your sound guy doesn’t have to adjust for every clip, and it is easier to go one to the next without sound differences.This is especially useful when playing pre-service music videos that you don’t want to be overpowering while people are coming in, and have another more ‘focused’ video later in the worship time.”—B. Snow, Fellowship Rome

43. “Ideally, tech teams should be able to control sound, or be adjacent to the person who does.”—Francesca, All Saint’s Church

If your presentation involves elements that include sound, don’t forget to check them and set their volume before the service. Francesca’s right, if it’s at all possible, put the presentation system close to the sound system.

44. “Most people don’t realize that an image that looks fine on a small screen can look bad on a large screen. They can require cropping and rescaling. People also take videos in the vertical format on their smartphones. I embed these in an HD video and add graphics or text to make the presentation look more professional.”—Kirby, Asbury United Methodist Church

As much as possible, make sure that people understand what kind of assets you need to put together a good presentation. Just know that you’re not always going to get things in the ideal formats, and sometimes pulling it off is going to require some creativity. Jump to the free download.

Be vigilant against mistakes
45. “Review, practice, and run through your service before Sunday. The ‘perfect’ service is elusive even with your best efforts but impossible without them.”—Mary, Grace and Peace Lutheran Church

46. “Make sure everyone’s on the same page when it comes to the service. Any element of the presentation that is tied to human involvement needs to be run through with the individuals that will be helping to pull it off.”—Anonymous

It might seem impossible to pull off, but if you can do a quick run through with the service components and the presentation, you’re going to be a lot happier with the outcome. No amount of individual preparation matches what you’re able to accomplish with a full-team runthrough.



47. “If your presentation software doesn’t have spell check, copy and paste the text into an external program to ensure that everything is spelled correctly.”—David, Bridge of Life Community Church

48. “If you are not a perfect writer, find someone to proofread your presentations. Mistakes can be highly distracting to members of your congregation who recognize them.”—Dwight, Gregory Hills Church of God

When you’re putting together your presentation, there are so many places where mistakes can be introduced. It’s not very likely that you’re going to catch every grammar or spelling mistake, so have someone else sanity-check the presentation before it runs. Oh, and never trust something you’ve copied and pasted off the internet. Jump to the free download.

Running the presentation
49. “We must stay alert and display cues at the right time: not too early, not too late. It’s very easy to get lost in the moment or to let our minds wander and not catch the verbal cue to display the next visual cue.”——Dwight, Gregory Hills Church of God

One of the most important characteristics of someone who is good at running presentations is vigilance. It’s easy to space out during certain elements of the service, but you just can’t afford to. You’ve got to be johnny-on-the-spot if you’re going to catch any problems before they become service-stopping distractions.

50. “Be careful of slide transition times in PowerPoints and cue transition styles. Fancier transitions can cause delays in showing the next script. Know how far in advance to transition the cue. It is easier for the audience to remember the last few words in a cue than to anticipate the next words unseen.”—Ben, Bethel Baptist

Know your scripts! If there are delays in rendering certain slides, make sure it’s not going to interrupt the flow of worship. Ben’s right—it’s incredibly distracting to not have the words up that you’re supposed to be singing because of a lag in the loading time. Whoever is running your presentation needs to feel confident dealing with surprises, because problems will inevitably crop up. What’s the plan if something goes awry? Mute the projectors? Go to a different feed? There should always be a contingency plan for the unexpected!

We want your tips!
Creating a good presentation requires a team that’s firing on all cylinders, and working together to create amazing church services! We hope these tips empower you to take your presentations to the next level. MediaShout has a strong community of users, and we can learn a lot from each other. Is there a tip we missed? Leave us a comment and let us know what your church does to ensure weekly success in their presentations. We might use it in a future post!