When used correctly, sermon slides will turn a good sermon into a great sermon. Slides give your message an air of quality, preparation, and memorable moments for your congregation to latch onto.
When we prepare our sermons, it is important to keep in mind that people learn in different ways. Some are audio learners, others are visual learners, and some learn best by doing. No two people learn in exactly the same way, and sermon slides are a great way to ensure we are engaging with different types of learners. Slides give our people the additional ability to see the message we are preaching and engage with it by writing it down or taking notes. Well-crafted sermon slides allow us to present the Word of God faithfully and in a way that is effective and meaningful. There are a few easy to follow rules that will make your slides amazing.
Be Creative, but Be Consistent
Creativity is the name of the game, so be willing to experiment with fonts, colors and graphics. However, once you land on what works, keep it consistent! The best sermon slides keep the same form and unity throughout the message, and preferably even throughout a series. Be sure to utilize your church’s branding and theme to emphasize unity and consistency. The best creativity is always creativity within a framework. Select an image for your sermon slide background that can be subtle with text over it, but add visual interest for your stage throughout your message.
Utilize Filters and Color Palettes
Those cool filters you see on Instagram are available in other places as well and are great tools for your slides. Step beyond the basic and have fun with filters, however don’t over do it. Select filters and color palettes that represent your church well while keeping things simple and easy to follow. Have fun with the creativity of your sermon slides and be prayerful as you plan for how it will help your congregation embrace the message.
We all love a good picture! Be sure to utilize pictures and even short videos or mini movies when it is appropriate and meaningful. One pastor I know often includes a map of the area where the text takes place. For example, if we are in Ephesians, can your people find Ephesus on a map? This is one simple way to engage people and draw them in.
Keep it Simple
Think of the current trends in graphics and design: Google and Apple are great examples of the ‘less is more’ mindset. Being creative doesn’t have to involve in a 90’s clip art free-for-all! We all remember those early websites with blinking things everywhere. For today’s sensibility, too much blinking and shiny things are a distraction. Too much can and have the opposite effect by making you look outdated and irrelevant. Thoughtful, consistent imagery with a theme and purpose is good; clutter is bad.
Highlight Memorable Information
Not everything you plan to say needs to be on a slide, just the points you really want to drive home. No one wants to have the sermon read to them from a PowerPoint, and that is not what we are going for here. What works on slides is Scripture, quotes, major points, and memorable moments that you want people to spend time engaging with and/or writing down.
Be sure that there is never too much text on a slide, and that it is a readable font. Just like song lyric slides that are used during worship times, too much is too much. It is okay to use two slides to make your point rather than trying to squeeze everything into one. Give people what they need, not everything that you need.
Work with Your Production Team
There is a good chance you have a production team of some sort at your church. Whether they are made up of volunteer teams, staff teams, or a mix of both, there is someone in the back of the room making things work and moving the slides forward. These are the folks who can likely answer your questions about your content, theme, and font size. Encourage them to be honest and tell you whether what you have needs some work. Be sure to get them your slide presentation on time and on schedule every week! Showing up Sunday morning with a slide presentation they have not seen is never a good idea.
What works best is to establish a routine that allows them to see your slides early, allowing them to fix typos or mistakes you may have missed (it happens to the best of us) and feel confident and prepared for the service.
Technology has given us a wealth of opportunity to present the message of Scripture and share the Gospel in creative and meaningful ways. Following these few simple guidelines will help us to do it well and with purpose, while having fun along the way.