preaching with powerpoint

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by tinytim, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. tinytim

    tinytim
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    How many of you use Powerpoint in sermons?

    I have just started in the last month, and I love it... for some reason, I can organize my thoughts alot better. The church loves it too. Even the older ones... they said they have trouble reading, but when it is giant print on the wall, they can see it.

    I do know the pitfall of using it too much so that people quit carrying their Bible to church....
    What are some other precautions to watch for.

    OH, and I'm not talking about using video clips. I am talking about using Scripture, and the points of my outline.

    I guess what I am asking for is:
    How can I improve?
    What pitfalls do i need to watch out for?
     
  2. Baptist Believer

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    Sounds like you are visually-oriented. You can do the same mental organization through the use of index cards (you can rearrange the index cards to create a logical progression in your thoughts as you develop your sermon) or work it out on a piece of paper just as well.

    One of the major problems with PowerPoint is that it allows only a small portion of the presentation to remain in front of the hearers/viewers at a time and does not promote holistic analysis of a message. And because we are conditioned to be mentally passive viewers by television, introducing a fragmented (that is, stop and start) visual message may actually hinder the process of applying the exhortation of the sermon to the hearer/viewer’s life.



    The following is an excerpt from the article on PowerPoint on Wikipedia:

    Criticism of PowerPoint
    One major source of criticism of PowerPoint comes from Yale professor of statistics and graphic design Edward Tufte. In his essay The cognitive style of PowerPoint, Tufte criticizes many emergent properties of the software:

    · Its use to guide and reassure a presenter, rather than to enlighten the audience;
    · Unhelpfully simplistic tables and charts, resulting from the low resolution of computer displays;
    · The outliner causing ideas to be arranged in an unnecessarily deep hierarchy, itself subverted by the need to restate the hierarchy on each slide;
    · Enforcement of the audience's linear progression through that hierarchy (whereas with handouts, readers could browse and relate items at their leisure);
    · Poor typography and chart layout, from presenters who are poor designers and who use poorly designed templates and default settings;
    · Simplistic thinking, from ideas being squashed into bulleted lists, and stories with beginning, middle, and end being turned into a collection of disparate, loosely disguised points. This may present a kind of image of objectivity and neutrality that people associate with science, technology, and "bullet points".

    Tufte's criticism of the use of PowerPoint has extended to its use by NASA engineers in the events leading to the Columbia disaster. Tufte's analysis of a representative NASA Powerpoint slide is included in a full page sidebar entitled "Engineering by Viewgraphs" in Volume 1 of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's report .

    University of Toronto management professor David Beatty says: "PowerPoint is like a disease. It's the AIDS of management." He advises spending 85 percent of one's time on figuring out what to say, and only 15 percent on how. He also reports that 3M has strongly discouraged the use of PowerPoint because "it removes subtlety and thinking", and the company believes that it causes people to focus on pretty pictures rather than doing what they are paid to do. (Prior to the introduction of computer based presentations, 3M was the primary manufacturer of the overhead projector, now made obsolete by PowerPoint.) Other prominent executives in the information technology industry have declared their offices "PowerPoint-free zones".

    Peter Norvig created a PowerPoint version of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address as a tongue-in-cheek example of the presentation style often associated with PowerPoint. Norvig published his slides on his website in 2000. It was subsequently picked up by several early blogs as well as the Wall Street Journal as an illustration of how a carefully crafted and successful speech can be turned into a disjointed set of garish slides, which even included gratuitous data plots.

    The use of PowerPoint encourages hypnotic communication by promoting the unintentional use of the inverted metamodel, e.g. incomplete sentences, generalizations, nominalizations, etc.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powerpoint
     
  3. SBCPreacher

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    I use it on Sunday nights. I use fill-in-the-blank outlines or teaching guides in both services, but on Sunday nights, I use the popwerpoint to reinforce the outline and add additional information. It works great. I would use it on Sunday AM's, but our system is a portable system and there's just not room for it. I hope that we will be able to install a permanent system, but that is still some time down the road.

    Technology is good (well, most of the time!).
     
  4. Baptist Believer

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    Sounds good for teaching, but what about preaching?
     
  5. Scarlett O.

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    I love powerpoint!

    My pastor, who is almost as fundamentalist as they come and equally as technology illiterate (he just now learned how to turn on a computer), uses it from time to time.

    If he is preaching from a passage that includes a genealogy, it sure makes it clearer. For example, in preaching from Genesis, it helped alot to "see" the family tree of Abraham, Lot, and the rest in a chart form.

    Sometime he will use it if he is preaching from several scriptures. If keeps him from repeating them over and over and taking up sermon time.

    What do you need to be careful of?

    Let me tell you this. Last night, I was at a school board meeting and an architect presented a powerpoint presentation explaining new concepts for new school buildings.

    There were too many words on the screen at one time and he READ to us. He READ it. That's not what power point is for.

    Powerpoint can definitely be helpful in preaching just as microphones, a pulpit, and pews can be. It can also be an occasional hindrance if conducted poorly.
     
  6. SBCPreacher

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    Can they not both be done at the same time?
     
  7. rbell

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    We use it in every service here. I use it every Wednesday night. My goal is that it helps in learning and sometimes illustrating a point.

    I try not to be "gimmicky" and simply draw attention to the technology; rather, it is a tool so that more people can see (and hear, and process, and understand) the Word and it's applications to daily life.

    If the projector fails, my sermon stands on it's own. But it's a nice help. And like Tiny says, it's a help to my thoughts being organized.

    In addition, projecting words on the screen to our music improved our singing greatly. People look up and sing...the volume is greater. Since so few folks read music anymore :( , it was a very easy transition for us.

    There are some fabulous churches that don't use ppt, and some stinkers that do. It doesn't make or break the church--it's a tool for us.
     
  8. Bro Tony

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    I have used it for many years. It has evolved (can I say that?:tongue3: ) over the years. I would have the Scripture put up and then the outline as I preached. I have recently found that can be too much visual information and people become dependant on the screen. Now we have the Scripture put up there as a whole while I read it, then as I am going through the Scripture in an expository manner, that portion of the text is hi-lighted on the screen. I have also found that at least in our church that having the Scripture on the screen does not keep people from bringing their Bibles. Most of our people have their Bibles open and they are taking notes on the outline provided in the bulletin. This has been my experience so far---hope it helps.

    Bro Tony
     
  9. tinytim

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    And just like any tool, it can be used and abused....That is why I started this thread...
    I want to make sure that I use it to it's greatest potential for God's Kingdom, without abusing it.

    My sermons too can stand on their own without it, but almost everyone in church has commented how much more they understand since I started using it.
     
  10. Tom Bryant

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    I use PP for all Sunday morning preaching. I also use the preaching guide. I want people to see it, write it and hear it. The more senses that are involved the better it seems to be.

    Sure it can be overused and poorly used. But so can yelling :laugh:
     
  11. tinytim

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    Good point.... Do you use outlines in the bulletins as well?
    I haven't, but might try it..
     
  12. LeBuick

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    In the past I put outlines in the bullitens but I am one who will change the sermon at the last minute. I don't know, but I believe I would have the same problem whith PPT though I would like to start using them for classes.

    I do see how PPT would help me a lot. I have very poor short term memory but when I preach, I tend to pace the entire Church. I have been known to sit by the usher at the back door as well as find myself in the choir stand. At minimum, I walk up and down the main isle of the Church.

    My notes are always on the rostrum. This means if I hit a brain fart, I have to dash up to the pulpit to see where I was going. I believe this is what is stringing my messages out, I keep forgetting where I am and end up being repetitive or off on tangents. PPT on the wall would greatly improve that aspect of my message.

    Pitfall... Divine inspiration??? I believe in only taking the bones of the message to the pulpit and letting the holy spirit put on the meat. Again, the Lord may put an entirely different message on my heart at the last minute and I try to be obedient.
     
  13. tinytim

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    Yeah, God has changed my sermon at the last minute also... If that ever happens, after I prepared a PPT.... OH Well...no PPT!

    I don't move too much from the pulpit, maybe 6 feet or so...
    And what I have on the screen is just the barebones of the sermon...
    just like this Sunday, I went off for about 5 minutes before coming back to the outline....No Problem.... To me with the PPT, the congregation just gets to see the outline I have in front of me.

    LeBuick, you said you have to rush back up front... if it were on the wall, you could stay where you were....

    Didn't God write on the wall once?!!!!
    lol
     
  14. El_Guero

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    Tim

    What is your purpose in a sermon?

    What are you trying to communicate?

    Do you care if they remember anything from your sermon tomorrow?

    What is your primary learning style?

    What is the primary learning style of your audience?

    Do you use alternate teaching styles to re-enforce the learning (the examples)?

    Wayne



     
  15. El_Guero

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    Wow . . . wiki? Now that is even more scholarly than Power Point . . .

    :)

    The only thing better than wiki is a loss of academic integrity like plagerism. Isn't it great that plagerism is ok, but Power Point isn't? Plagerize, pirate software and put the rich software giants out of business. Soon Microsoft and their evil empire will be out of business and everyone will be an expert on plagerism.

    Just when I tho't I was doing good learning Power Point, now I gotta go learn plagerism and piracy!!! This academic stuff is tooooo much for me.

    Regards


    PS - just so ya'll know - this was satirical.
     
  16. rbell

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    • Use very large type...don't try to put too much on a screen. (I use at least 40 point).
    • Use high-contrast slides (like white or yellow type on dark blue background)...and in most cases avoid red. It usually isn't viewer-friendly.
    • (Especially if you use white type) utilize your "shadow." It sets off the words better.
    • In most cases, stay consistent with your fonts and backgrounds.
    • Transitions: keep em simple. Most of that stuff is too gimicky for a worship service--it commands attention to itself. The fade/dissolve is usually a safe bet.
    • No surprises...get a printed handout sheet for your powerpoint person. They should know what's coming. In Powerpoint 2003, I go to file--print--and in the bottom corner it says, "print what." The drop down menu offers a "handouts" option. Choose this.
    • Test everything. Never do a worship service first-run with any equipment or slideshow. If it doesn't work, it's a major distraction, and an avoidable one.
    • Put a shortcut to your slideshow on the desktop of the computer running the show. That way if something happens, it will be quickly accessed by the tech person.
    • Never run a powerpoint show, if you can help it, from a CD, floppy, or flash drive. It could be "jumpy." Put it on the computer.
    • (advanced tip) If you use hyperlinks, and your show is not on your original computer, then the target files/objects of the hyperlinks must be put on the new computer and the correct location put in the powerpoint file. This is for those of you who use hyperlinks or embedded video.
    • Pictures that clearly illustrate your points are your friend. Pictures that don't, usually aren't worth it.
    • If you're thinking, "now how can I work this in?", it's usually not worth working in. Wait until you need to use it.
    • Advanced: Don't insert a bunch of huge pictures, when it comes to file size. Compress the photos so they're not too big. Example: for my senior slide show (24 this year), eight big photos of 24 seniors would be a ridiculous sized file of 200-300 MB. I compressed the photos to 20-30 kb, and my show was about 40 MB.
     
  17. rbell

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    Important Addition: use a non-serif font like Arial, rather than a serif-font like Times New Roman. A non-serif font doesn't have the chiseled, narrow, tapered parts of the letter. They show up better on the screen.
     
  18. tinytim

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    The answers are in bold.
     
  19. tinytim

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    Thanks Rbell, I am doing everything you suggest, except for maybe the text type, I have been using Veranda? I'll try others also.

    My son is running the Powerpoint, and we have a dry run before each service at home.
    We both have the slide printout...I have found it is easier to preach from it. than my outlines

    Those are good suggestions...
     
  20. chadnrachel

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    I am happy to hear that you are taking advantage of this technology. For those who are anti power point I would point out that most humans (around 60%) learn best from visual and auditory learning. By you preaching and using Power Point you will be able to grab the attention of more of the congregation.

    To be a great preacher, you must be a great teacher. Even our Lord was referred to as Master, Rabbi (the teacher). He often used visual ideas to convey his auditory message (i.e., fields are white unto harvest...).

    Additional ideas: Use the power point to show new choruses or to show your announcements b/n Sunday School and Worship.

    Increase the font size and contrast if people complain of not being able to see. Make a slide for each point if you have to.

    Great job!
     

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