I 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?