Do you want to keep people’s attention during your worship service? I bet you’d also like to avoid unnecessary distractions, too. There’s one simple way you can boost engagement or create a massive eye-sore for your congregation.
For the duration of your service, there’s a good chance you’re using a slide the entire time.
You can use slides to facilitate worship, lead people to follow along with your pastor during his or her sermon, and promote announcements.
The slides you create should be simple, straightforward, and errorless.
If your slides are riddled with errors or poorly designed, then they’ll create an unnecessary distraction during your worship service.
The goal with the slides you create is to make it as easy as possible for someone to read and follow along with you and your staff during your worship service. Here are six tips to help you create worship slides that are simple, straightforward, and don’t stink.
#1. Be consistent
There are many best practices you can follow and a some of the tips we’ll explore below have different opinions. Regardless of the creative direction you take with your slides, strive to be consistent in what you create.
You can make changes from week-to-week. However, during your worship service, it’s best to follow one theme and style guide from beginning to end.
Here are ways you need to fight for consistency:
- Use the same font and font size
- Make sure the alignment is the same between slides
- Follow the same grammar and punctuation rules
- Be consistent in your capitalization
- Use similar colors
- Weave a common theme throughout every slide
Consistent design of your slides will help you to minimize distractions in your service.
#2. Minimize the number of lines
Including too many words on one slide will make it difficult to understand.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to use 3-4 lines of text and 6-8 words per line. This range should ensure that the slides you use for worship are readable and make it easy for people to follow along.
As an aside, it’s okay if your pastor uses several lines of text for a Bible verse or verses he or she is referencing during their sermon. During the sermon, it’s safe to assume people are following along with the Bible in their hand or on their phone or tablet.
#3. Watch out for orphans and widows
We’re not talking about pure and undefiled religion (James 1:27). We’re talking about typography and your slide layout.
Online, you’ll find a variety of definitions for typographical orphans and widows. But for the sake of this article, let’s stick with this definition from Magazine Designing:
- Widow is a line of text at the end of a paragraph separated from the rest of the ext
- Orphan is a word or a few words in its own row that end a paragraph
Here’s an illustration:
As you format your slides, watch out for orphans and widows and work on rearranging the content as not to leave one hanging.
#4. Punctuate sparingly
There’s a fine-line you have to walk with creativity and punctuation.
As you limit the number of lines of text, strive for consistency, and watch out for orphans and widows in your slides, you’ll be tempted to throw out punctuation and grammar completely.
Maybe it’s the purist in me, but this isn’t necessarily a good idea.
Now, for song lyrics, you don’t have to follow the same rules of punctuation as you do for books and blog posts. But there are a few rules of punctuation you’ll want to follow, such as:
- Use punctuation to identify whom you’re talking about (“Lord, I come, I confess”)
- Use punctuation to help people pause at the right time (“Oh, great is our God!”)
- Use punctuation to separate things in a list (“He is my light, my strength, my song”)
I do agree with others who suggest avoiding the use of commas, semicolons, or periods at the end of a line of text in your slide. The break between one line to the next will provide a natural pause in the song.
#5. Use dashes for multiple verses
Does your pastor like to use verses on a slide as he or she preaches?
When your pastor refers to more than one verse from a chapter in the Bible, it’s best to use an en dash (–) and not a hyphen (-) between the verses.
- Incorrect (hyphen): Romans 12:1-2
- Correct (en dash): Romans 12:1–2
Also, unlike quoting a verse from the Bible in your bulletin or writing, you don’t have to add a quotation dash (a.k.a., horizontal bar) before the verse reference (e.g., ―Romans 12:1–2).
#6. Oh, be careful
Did you know there’s a difference between “oh” and “o”?
For instance, “oh” is an interjection you use to express emotions and “o” is a classical way of preceding the name of someone you’re addressing.
Here are a few examples:
- O God of truth, whose living Word
- Oh, great is our God!
- O God, you are my God
- Oh! Sing praise to our God
In your slides, make sure you’re using the right “o” or “oh” in your worship songs or Bible verse references.
#7. Help people give
During your service, you most likely have a time set aside to take up an offering.
Depending on the demographics of your church, many people probably prefer to use online giving, mobile giving, or text in church to donate. But you will also have a group of people who prefer to give with cash or a check.
To lead people to give in your church, use a slide to promote the different ways people can give. At Tithe.ly, we provide churches with editable graphics they can use, or use as inspiration to create their own.
During your offering, you don’t have to share a sermon detailing the different ways people can give. Just use a slide and let people know. They’ll be able to figure it out from there.
Over to you
You need a plan in place to create the type of slides you need to lead your people well.
If at all possible, try to create them before Sunday and avoid making any last minute changes. I know there are delays or when things have to get added or edited. But strive to make these times the exception, and not the rule.
What tip would you add to this list? Let’s compare our notes in the comments below!