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Power up worship visuals with PowerPoint

Technology can open up worship presentations. Many congregation members, particularly the younger generations, use media in a multitude of ways and expect interactive presentations.

Have you tried PowerPoint? People remember what they see better than what they hear. Researchers estimate people retain only 10 to 20 percent of what they hear. If they listen and see, that retention rate climbs to 50 to 80 percent.

Imagine the power of combining your words with visuals to enhance the worship experience.

If you've been to a presentation recently, you may have experienced PowerPoint and recognized the impact of well-done visuals. The slide show software is so popular, the word "PowerPoint" has evolved into a noun and a verb. When used appropriately and thoughtfully, the slide-show software can enhance and even transform worship services.

Microsoft creates PowerPoint software and packages it with Microsoft Office so most people are familiar with the program and its easy-to-use format. PowerPoint requires a computer with Microsoft Office software, a projector and a screen if blank walls are not accessible in your church. First, ask yourself why you're using PowerPoint. Too many presenters don't ask that question. Use PowerPoint with purpose.

Identify ways you can enhance worship by using the computer-generated slide show.

Welcome the worshipers.
About 15 minutes before the service, show a "Welcome" slide. Include your church's logo and images from recent church activities.

Encourage vocal participation.
Project song lyrics so people can easily see. Superimpose lyrics over images of nature to illustrate God's creation. Be sure to choose images that do not conflict with the visibility of the words. If done correctly, this dynamic can really enhance the worship experience.

Complement the sermon.
Most people do not spend all the sermon time looking at the pastor. A PowerPoint presentation can enhance the sermon visually. In its simplest form, the slide show can include a single slide with a pertinent quote or Scripture from the sermon.

Reach the children.
Children don't have as much patience or desire to sit and listen as most adults do. A visually interesting sermon gives children another way to understand and stay tuned to the message. Sunday school lessons also can benefit from a PowerPoint tailored to the audience.

Go to the movies.
Add movie clips and music videos to the sermon. They can grab your congregation's attention and, chosen appropriately, can enhance the message. Make sure you have purchased the proper license for showing movies in your church.

Announce the news.
Consider posting a slide show with the church's announcements before or after the service. If someone speaks to the worshipers with a detailed announcement, a single slide can project the "who, what, where and when" information about the event.

www.screenvue.com, an online resource of movie clips for churches and ministries, categorizes hundreds of clips by theme (i.e. love, trust, sin, etc). To include movies in your worship service, please purchase the proper church video license.