Main graphic for service on the Lord's Prayer
My philosophy, which I learned from the Midnight Oil guys, is to have one graphic up for the whole worship service. I’m trying to tell the story, to get a message across, so I want all the creative elements to reinforce that message. I use a faded copy of the graphic behind all words. (I do that in Photoshop Elements, a program that costs about $80.) I don’t put nature scenes behind the words, or change the photograph with each verse of a song, or have motion backgrounds, because again, I’m trying to get a message across, not use creative elements just so people will so, “Boy, that was cool.”
Last week I was preaching on the Lord’s Prayer. I went to WorshipHouse Media to see if they had any good videos, and I found one for about $20. I could also have created a slide show in Photoshop Elements, but I liked the video. It was the Lord’s Prayer with a piano background. I was at first planning on using it after I read the scripture and before I started preaching.
I needed to find out the heart (theme, thesis, main idea) of the sermon before I chose a graphic. I had one picked out at the beginning of the week, but my sermon went in another direction. So I found this one at the end of the week. You can find graphics anywhere. Take your own photographs. Use google to search for an image (be careful about copyright). Go to worship sites (like WorshipHouse Media or other free sites). I usually go to stock photography sites because I can find what I’m looking for easier and the photographs are very high quality. If you’re just projecting the photograph, a resolution of 72 dots per inch is good (the smaller the resolution the cheaper the photograph), but if you’re going to print it, 300 dots per inch is necessary. I’m now using photographs both for projecting and for printing on cards, so I get the higher quality. They cost me about $5-10.
I wasn’t going to put the scripture passage on the screen. I lean more towards fewer words and more graphics. But I was playing with our new system to find out how big the type needed to be to be able to see it well (over 40 point type). I put one verse per screen, and I practiced reading the scripture from the screen. I loved it, because I was able to have more eye contact with people. And several people said they appreciated having it on the screen. So I’ll probably do that in the future. Again, I used my washed out graphic as the background.
During the sermon, I decided to have a slide with my main graphic and the phrase of the Lord’s Prayer that I was speaking about at the time. I don’t generally plan to have an outline of my sermon on the screen, but this worked well.
I thought about putting the video right before the sermon. I also thought about putting it right after the sermon as a “visual meditation.” I could have also used it after the prayers of the people when we normally pray the Lord’s Prayer. (This week we sang the Lord’s Prayer. I’ve had several people asking for that. “Fresh Worship” doesn’t have to be high-tech. It can be just doing something in a little different way.) We were having communion, so I finally decided to use the video during communion. It was about 2 1/2 minutes, so I played it once while we passed out the bread, and again when we passed out the juice. I heard that one of our four-year-olds was fascinated by it, although he thought the man with the arms raised was an alien.
I want the technology to be invisible. I don’t want people saying, “Oh, that was a great piece of technology.” I want the technology to help us worship deeper and remember the message longer.
I’m a visual person, so designing worship like this comes naturally to me. And because I know where to find resources, and how to use the technology (computer, screens, MediaShout software, remote, etc.), I find it easy and nourishing to my soul. If it doesn’t come naturally to you, take it slow or find someone else to work with for whom it does come naturally.