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The Ten Commandments of Worship Slides

worship slides

I travel at least once or twice a month to another church, and I can usually tell right away where a church is in their design quality with a quick glance at their worship slides. I can tell whether the church has an in-house designer or a volunteer with no experience in graphic design is designing worship slides.

Don’t hear the wrong thing here, I’m grateful for volunteers willing to step up and get things done that need to get done for your congregation to worship. Your screen content is one of the most visible venues for everyone in your church. It’s worth the effort and time to make your worship slides and screen content impactful.

Allow me to give you a few quick tips for Preparing and Executing your Worship Slides:

  1. Limit your lines of lyrics to 3-4 lines of text. Never go more than this. 

No big explanation here other than it just looks better and cleaner. We’re not using overhead projectors anymore, slides need to be clean and simple and not contain huge bulks of text that is hard to read.

  1. Be consistent with your fonts and font size.

Choose one font for all your lyrics for the whole day. Choose a font size that is readable but doesn’t overwhelm your screen. (Check out my article 5 Go-To Worship Fonts for more on this topic.)

  1. Choose Non-Cheesy Motion Backgrounds.

Cheesy clip art or rainbow backgrounds are not only just poor design; it distracts your congregation from worshiping.

  1. Lead lyrics!

I can’t stress this enough. Nothing is worse than being late on lyrics. It halts the worship of your people. We’ve all been there – you’re singing along and you’re two lines into the next slide before the operator advances to the next slide of lyrics. A good rule of thumb for leading lyrics is to advance to the next slide when your worship leader sings the next to last word on the slide.

  1. Never let your audience see what’s going on “behind the scenes.”

You never want to see a cursor, a desktop background, another program, or anything else on your screens besides media content from your presentation software.

  1. Avoid Repeated Lines or “Hymnal Directions”.

If you sing one line repeatedly, it should be on one slide and the slide should be duplicated in your presentation software. Don’t use directional statements on screen – remove all words and phrases like “REPEAT 2X”, “MEN ONLY”, “BRIDGE”.

  1. Set up your presentation software in the order of the service.

You should primarily be using the spacebar to advance your way through your media content. You should only use your cursor to catch a worship leader on a rogue lyric or to fire a video element.

  1. Set up consistent Capitalization and Punctuation Rules.

There are some varying views on this, but I’ll tell you what I usually land on: My rule of thumb is to only capitalize names of God and pronouns like “I”. Another good practice is to only capitalize the first word of every sentence. I also never use commas, periods, or punctuation marks – you’re not winning grammar awards here – you’re making slides nice and clean for people to worship. Another acceptable option is to us all capital letters for lyrics.

  1. Care for the “orphans and widows.”

Don’t leave one or two small words hanging on one line. Break lyrics up where they make sense when reading them and produce your slide where the words are roughly the same length on each line.

  1. Gently encourage your leaders to not make any last minute changes.

In my experience, very last minute changes affect the concentration of the team and can throw your execution game off. Train your leaders that your service starts when the counter drops and set guidelines to when is too late to add content to your presentation.

This article originally appeared here, and is used by permission.

This article was also published in MinistryTech Magazine. Subscribe for free.

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Carl Barnhill has served on staff at some of the largest churches and organizations in the country. He served as Media Director at Precept Ministries International, directing the television and radio program Precepts for Life with Kay Arthur, broadcasted to over 98 million homes around the world. He served as Video Production Director at Pinelake Church in Brandon, MS. He most recently served as Video Coordinator for Newspring Church in South Carolina. He currently serves as Creative Director and Owner of [twelve:thirty]media, serving churches and ministries all over the world through motion graphics content and church media coaching.