Questions to Ask When Using PowerPoint for Sermons

PowerPointI remember a time when no one used PowerPoint for sermons. In fact, I can remember when I first saw (and not just heard) a pastor preach using PowerPoint. I thought it was pretty amazing and couldn’t wait to try it myself.

In those early days, it was quite the process to put together a PowerPoint presentation for one of my sermons. I didn’t know the program well but thankfully our church had someone who could correct my mistakes.

For the first few years, my PowerPoint presentations were rather lengthy. I wanted to take full advantage of what was available. I understood that some people are visual learners and if this could help, I was all for it. Plus it was a lot of fun.

Since that time, there has been some shift in how many pastors use PowerPoint. Some have abandoned it and some are quite critical of it. I have heard a number of comments (not just in a church context) about “death by PowerPoint.”

I continue to use PowerPoint for my sermons but the way I use it had developed over the years. When I put together a PowerPoint presentation now, I ask myself certain questions.

  • What will happen if the technology doesn’t work? A breakdown could happen anywhere from the computer to the cable to the projector. I never assume it will work and so my message never has to rely on the technology working.
  • What are the big ideas I want people to remember? I believe less is more and I want to focus on the big idea.
  • Will the presentation be a distraction from what I’m trying to communicate?
  • Am I just trying to be clever?
  • Is the presentation too complex and likely to cause problems for the projectionist?
  • Will the congregation be able to see the words or the image on the screen?
  • Is there content in the presentation that doesn’t need to be there?

What about you? Do you or does your pastor use PowerPoint? Are you happy with how it is going?

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