Contemporary worship is not business as usual! Gone are the days of three hymns and a sermon. Today’s worship leader must know a little bit about everything: pop music, praise bands, worship flow…
If you’re a part-time or volunteer worship leader you probably have to program your own worship slides. There’s a bunch of bad PowerPoint out there. But you don’t do art, you say? If you have enough creative energy in you to be involved with worship, you have enough creativity to maintain decent graphics. You might not be able to produce the graphics yourself (although I believe anyone can learn to create good, basic graphics) but you should at least be able to recognize graphics that aren’t good.
With the wonders of technology we can today create videos and graphics that could have only been created by a professional on a super computer twenty years ago. However, I’m afraid the technology is getting ahead of us. We have the latest bells and whistles yet I’ve seen the most horrific cheesiness projected on some church screens!
Let’s start with a few basics. Of all places, I ran into a nice, quick and concise art lesson at the US Post Office in the form of a pamphlet. They’ve put a copy online, take a look:
There are a few things here we can apply to church graphics.
1. One thing dominates the page (or screen.) Don’t try to cram the entire song/sermon on one slide.
2. Minimize typeface variety. Don’t mix and match 5 fonts just because you can. Stay away from weird type styles – you don’t want your worship to resemble a used car commercial.
Choose one or two nice, readable fonts and stick with them throughout your service. Serif fonts are more staid (like Times Roman) while sans serif fonts are more contemporary (like Myriad Pro or Segoe UI.) Whenever you use a new font, try it out on the screen before worship. What looks good on your computer monitor might not look so hot enlarged.
3. Easy to read text. Tiny text is hard to read on screen. The vast majority of churches center their lyrics, but in my Art 101 college class I learned this tires the eye. You might try creating lyrics that are “flush left,” like a newspaper column and see how it looks. Centered lyrics forces your eye to search for the beginning of each line.
4. Use relevant illustrations or photos. Avoid cartoonish, goofy clip art. For worship song text, try matching an image to a song lyric. As many worship songs include topics like sky, sea, mountains, rain, etc. this shouldn’t be too hard.
Take a look at your presentation software for this coming week. What can you tweak that would make the presentation cleaner and more professional?
Bottom Line: Avoid graphic cheese in church!