Monday, July 3, 2006

(Finally) discovering PowerPoint for preaching: Adventures in the life of an angry prophet

Despite years in the corporate world, exposed to thousands of bad and a handful of good powerpoint presentations, I have never quite gotten a handle on how to use them effectively for preaching. That is, until I stumbled onto a method that has worked very well for a recent series of messages I preached at Cascade Hills, straight from the book of Jonah. I put every verse on a slide (usually only a sentence or two per slide), and had it behind me with an accompanying image to help establish what was happening at that point in the story. Then, I simply told the story in my own words, with the Scripture there for everyone to follow.

The sermons ended up being very narrative in style, with most of the sermon time taken up with simple (theological) storytelling. At the end of each sermon, I would ask the congregation what this text was asking of us, and spend a bit of time helping to unpack some of that. I found these sermons very easy to preach (after a lot of exegetical work up front to give substance and depth to my storytelling). I also found them to be very hard hitting. Boy, you can count on Scripture to say the hard things! All I had to do was do my best to open it up to the congregation. What a privilege to preach the Word of God in the midst of our faith community!


James Wood said...

I like that use of PowerPoint. I think that has a lot more to do with the purpose behind a multimedia presentation than most PowerPoints that I've seen. I am frustrated to no end by slides that add nothing to the content of the presentation. If you're going to read your PowerPoint to me, then you might as well sit down and click the button because I can read faster than you can talk.

I've been asaulted by many a cacophotous PowerPoint in my day. It isn't enough to just have flashy graphics; the images must speak as well as the words.

Thanks for sharing your adventures in PowerPoint.

na said...

I am sad that I missed this presentation.

Rob said...

Hey J! Isn't technology grand and frustrating at the same time! Remember that sermon I did for Stan with the slide of the leavened bread.
I've worked really hard at refining my use of PowerPoint lately, especially in a technologically-driven church. The best use I have found is exactly what you have done--project primarily passages and images with at little (but the most important) information as possible.
Keep up the great work, and I'll get back with you soon about the consulting thing. Talk to you later!