10 PowerPoint Tips for Churches

Your church might still be using PowerPoint for services. While PowerPoint has some limitations when used for church, that doesn’t mean that your presentations can’t look professional. We’ve compiled 10 tips to make your PowerPoint presentations pop—and help you get rid of mistakes that undermine their effectiveness.

1. Use reader-friendly fonts

In an effort to evoke a feeling or a mood, people will sometimes gravitate toward fonts that seem interesting, but just don’t work for presentations. It might be that they want a “fancy” font and end up going with something completely unreadable, or maybe they use too many fonts and the whole presentation becomes a distraction.

If you’re looking for some simple tips for picking the perfect font, check out the post 4 Basic Typography Tips for Presentations.

2. Choose the right backgrounds

When it comes to creating a professional-looking presentation, finding the right background is right up there with choosing a good font. You don’t want anything that’s going to distract from your text. After all, the text is the star of the presentation.

Choose colors that provide a strong contrast from your font. And never overlay text on an image that’s too busy for the words to be read clearly.

We’ve put together some suggestions to help you create incredibly readable church presentations.

3. Have someone double-check your slides

When someone sees a typo in a presentation, you lose their attention. It might only be for a moment, but they’re still distracted. If the typo is really egregious, they might even distract the person next to them by pointing it out.

Because our minds tend to compensate for missing words or misspellings, typos can easily slip by the most exacting presentation creator. As much as possible, make sure the presentation is put together with enough time to run it by another set (or two) of eyes.

4. Don’t pack too much text on a slide

It’s easy for churches to make this mistake. You think, I just want to use this one verse, so why would I break it into multiple slides? But too much text on one slide is unreadable and can lose the attention of your audience.

Use the 7X4 rule as a guide. Don’t add more than seven words on a line with no more than four lines on a slide—but give yourself about a 25-word-per-slide maximum!

5. Reveal list items one at a time

Periodically you’ll want to add a bulleted or numbered list to your presentation. Since you’re likely going to be discussing each item one-by-one, you don’t want to make the entire list visible. People aren’t going to wait for you to prompt them before they read what’s on the slide, and when everyone is reading ahead, they’re not listening to you. So reveal a list item as you’re talking about it.

As you reveal a new list item, you might want to grey out the previous items on the list.

6. Use your presentation to highlight, not to narrate

You want your presentation to reinforce your message, so use it wisely. Your visual aids should make your service stronger, but they shouldn’t be the service’s focus.

If you try to cram every idea or point from your message into your presentation, it makes your message less effective. Be diligent about creating slides that are going to fortify your message. And do this by being very intentional about the best information to present visually. No one enjoys a presentation where all the speaker does is read their slides.

7. Make sure everything is aligned properly

If you want to make your PowerPoint presentation look really professional, make sure everything lines up correctly. Images and texts that aren’t properly aligned can give your presentation an amateur feel, so you want to make sure that everything is in its proper place. This means you don’t want to simply eyeball it.

You can align multiple objects with by choosing Align from the Arrange option in the options bar. Alternatively, you can use the ruler or gridlines by clicking View and choosing these options from the Show group.

Alignment is really important if you are going from slide to slide and you have an item/object that repeats. Nothing is more distracting than a title text box that shifts as you go from one slide to the next.

8. Use graphs and charts well

Because data can add legitimacy to your presentation, there’s a temptation to overuse graphs and charts. And while graphs and charts can bolster your presentation, if used poorly, they can really detract.

Don’t feel the need to visually represent every fact or piece of data you share. But if you do, make sure you do it in a easily understood and visually appealing way.

Always ask yourself, does this data need to be represented by a chart? If so, what’s the best type of chart to use?

  • Pie charts: Best for percentages and should be kept under six slices. You can highlight the most important piece of information with a different color or by offsetting the slice.
  • Line charts: Used to communicate trends.
  • Vertical bar charts: Communicates changes in quantity over time.
  • Horizontal bar charts: Used to compare quantities.

9. Avoid clipart

Microsoft killed off their clipart in 2015, but that’s not stopping people from finding it online and inserting it into their PowerPoint presentations. I can promise you that nothing kills credibility quicker than cartoony looking clipart.

10. Be wise with transitions and animations

Powerpoint offers a lot of transition and animation options, but this doesn’t mean that you need to use them. Many of them are going to make your presentation look pretty cheesy. For the most part, you’re going to get along fine by simply sticking to cut and fade.

If you do decide to use animations, don’t animate more than 20% of your presentation (less is better), and use one animation per presentation. Every slide shouldn’t be appearing with a unique animation.

Lastly, always shoot for the fastest transitions. Some animations seem really clever when you’re working on a presentation at home, but once you’re in the middle of your message it can be a disaster if it takes too long to go from slide to slide.

Take responsibility for your presentation

Even if you are not the person creating your presentation, that doesn’t mean that you’re abdicating the responsibility to someone else. It’s still an integral part of your sermon and you need to make sure that it compliments your message.

Have a discussion with the person who puts together presentations to ensure that you’re on the same page regarding best practices. When you’re thinking about the service, consider how the presentation ties each piece together. Give your presentation builder explicit instructions each week so that they can get a sense of your vision.

Consider adding MediaShout Bridge

You might not be ready to move to a more church-specific presentation software, but there are some lower-budget options for giving PowerPoint some more church-friendly features.

For example, did you know you could add lyric and Bible databases to PowerPoint saving you tons of extra time? With MediaShout Bridge you can create slides from our lyric library, add verses from 65 available Bible translations, and pull it all together with simple text creation. Check it out now!

10 Calls to Worship from the Bible

A call to worship is an invitation for the congregation to turn their attention toward God. It’s typically not intended to be a lengthy intellectual discourse but a summons. That is, unless you’re looking to invoke a particular tone or focus in a service like Good Friday or Christmas.

The call to worship can be used to address the congregation, or it can be spoken corporately. Here are 10 brief and emotive calls to worship that come directly from Scripture. You can have a lay leader or pastor speak these words at the beginning of the service to the congregation, have the entire congregation speak these in unison, or simply have a worship leader speak these words at the beginning of a song. Continue reading “10 Calls to Worship from the Bible”

5 Major Drawbacks of Using Powerpoint in Church

One could argue that the sheer number of churches still using PowerPoint is a sign of its usefulness as a presentation software. And while it’s definitely a tool than can get the job done in most churches, one needs to ask: is it the best tool?

Church presentations have their own peculiarities which set them apart—they need different tools than one would need to prepare for a business meeting. When you look at the needs of a church, you begin to see PowerPoint’s limitations.

Here are five big drawbacks churches experience using PowerPoint: Continue reading “5 Major Drawbacks of Using Powerpoint in Church”

10 Scriptural Benedictions to Use for Worship

Benedictions have been used for centuries as a way to close Christian gatherings. And since they’re scriptural, they’re always an appropriate way to bring a service to an end.

The word Benediction comes from the Latin bene (well) and dicere (to say; speak). It literally means “to speak well of, or bless.” In the Old Testament, benedictions were used at the tabernacle, at the temple, and even in homes where patriarchs would bless their families as they went out each day. Continue reading “10 Scriptural Benedictions to Use for Worship”

10 Worship Songs about Love

When it comes to songs of worship, the topic of love can be addressed in so many ways. We can sing about God’s love for us, our love for him, or the love that exists between Christians as God knits our hearts together. Love is definitely a rich topic that worship leaders should explore regularly.

Here are some incredible songs about love broken into those three categories. Continue reading “10 Worship Songs about Love”

10 Worship Songs about Grace

Grace might be the New Testament’s central idea. The fact that God pours blessing out on an undeserving humanity makes the cross the most shocking and beautiful expression of love imaginable.

We live in a world where one is expected to earn their keep and prove their merit. It’s a startling thing to fall into the hands of God with absolutely nothing of value to make us deserving of His kindness. But His mercy triumphs over judgment and gives us what we could never earn. If that doesn’t create in you a worshipful spirit, nothing will!

Here are ten worship songs about grace. Continue reading “10 Worship Songs about Grace”

I have MediaShout 5. Should I get MediaShout 6?

So you have MediaShout 5.

It’s a perky program. You’re using it to create terrific presentations at church. You’re probably enjoying popular features like our baked-in Bibles, 7-day support, Dropbox syncing, and more.

Then MediaShout 6 came out, and you’ve been hearing all about how great version 6 is.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re asking yourself, “I like MediaShout 5. Why should I pay more for MediaShout 6?”

That’s a smart question to ask! Let’s take a quick tour of the advantages you’d get by upgrading to MediaShout 6. By the time you’ve made it through this list, you’ll know:

  1. Exactly what new features you’re missing out on right now
  2. Whether or not it’s time to upgrade

Sound good? Sweet. Let’s look at the top reasons people upgrade to MediaShout 6! Continue reading “I have MediaShout 5. Should I get MediaShout 6?”

4 computers and laptops for church media

When you’re making decisions about what equipment your church needs to run presentations, you have a lot to consider. Beyond choosing the presentation software that’s right for your church, you have to decide on hardware that fits your needs—AND your church’s budget.

This is no easy task.

To help make this process easier, the MediaShout team connected church-tech experts with hardware manufacturers to lighten the load for you. We worked directly with Dell and built out four of the most church-centric computer bundles on the market. Continue reading “4 computers and laptops for church media”

4 Basic Typography Tips for Presentations

At its most basic, typography encompasses the fonts you choose for a brand, a presentation, website, or document.

There’s a lot to think about when choosing fonts for your church presentation. With all the choices that need to be made, it’s easy to not give typography the attention it deserves.

Even if your church doesn’t have a designer dedicated to presentations, there are factors you should consider when deciding which fonts to use and where. You can address them each time you make a new church presentation, or you can save yourself and your team a lot of effort by making these decisions once and sticking to them in the future.

Before we jump into tips on how to do this, here’s a quick overview of three of the main factors you need to consider when choosing fonts. Continue reading “4 Basic Typography Tips for Presentations”

6 Ways to Make Presentations Easier to Read

Not every church has a designer on staff. This can leave the pastor, tech volunteers, or worship team guessing when it comes to making good design decisions for the Sunday slides.

There’s good news, though—you don’t need to be a designer to make a functional church presentation that adds to the experience (and doesn’t distract). In fact, it can be easier than you think.

You don’t need to focus on making a presentation complex and beautiful. Here’s the thing: great church presentations don’t need to be Apple Keynotes. They just need to be readable. Continue reading “6 Ways to Make Presentations Easier to Read”