Creating Engaging Lyric Slides in Worship
The art of creating worship slides that are effective is super important. Choices on font, motion backgrounds, shapes, and color themes is something that can either go unnoticed and add to the worship or distract people from the worship. In my opinion, if slides are done well, no one should be drawn to them, but the slides should add to the overall theme and music to help build the atmosphere. So, that is the mindset of how I choose everything: if I feel like they will distract from the message of the songs in anyway, I will not use that font, background, etc. for my slides. The font, backgrounds, etc. should add and help convey the message of the songs but not be the main focus. Subtleness and creativity is key. Lets break down each part of making good slides now.
The font you choose should be easily readable. I believe the best way to make that happen is to use an all cap font. I specially use Bebas Neue for mine. (I love Bebas Neue but know that it is one you have to download off the internet.) I also will use copperplate for scripture. Both of these are all caps and are super easy to read. Next, you need to make sure that the font is large enough for the whole congregation to see. The longer your church’s sanctuary is, the bigger you need to make the font so the back row can easily read the words. What I mean by longer is: the length of your church from the stage to the back of the room. I always try to make mine around 60-65 points in size in Propresenter, which is the program I use and suggest all should use. If you do not have Propresenter, the rule should still stand: large words that are all caps so everyone in your church can see the words without any strain.
Next, I only do two lines for each slide. It is super clean compared to the paragraph form that some people use. Utilizing only two lines per slide allows you to make the font larger and, again, it just cleans everything up. Lastly, I believe that punctuation marks should be left out unless they are absolutely needed. They are implied and, in my opinion, aren’t necessary. I believe adding punctuation marks makes the slides look tacky and out of date. The only time I will use punctuation marks is when I need a comma between two parts of the sentence on a single line so they do not run together; and to appease the English nerds out there.
When it comes to worship backgrounds I am probably a larger stickler than I should be. I believe that all the motion backgrounds used for your set should go together and match the theme of your service. For example, if the theme is Christ dying on the cross, then I will make sure that all the slides are red. If you like a motion background for a song but it doesn’t match the color theme then, its super easy to go into media properties on Propreseter, select effects, and add a color filter.
I will also make sure the motion background I choose matches with the song. If I am doing a fast song then the motion background will be high energy and move faster. Sometimes if I want it faster I will even go into the media property, select properties, and speed up the play rate. If I am singing a song like “Oceans” or “Waves” by Worship Central, I will use water in my backgrounds. The motion background I choose should add without distracting from the song. People shouldn’t notice the background, but it should add to the overall theme. If a motion background grabs people’s attention too much, no matter how good it is, I feel like its the wrong choice.
What type of backgrounds do I use? I use a lot of scenic backgrounds, because my church has a gothic modern ambience, so these seem to play well with it. I will use ink and color swirls that are slow moving as well. I used to use dots and bokehs heavily but it seems that their time has passed now. Scenic backgrounds are peaceful, pretty, and easy melt into the background.
Where can I get these? Right now I am subscribed to VisualMediaChurch.com. They have lots of great scenic and appealing backgrounds and they also have tons of options. (Side note: they also provide awesome graphics for announcements, social media, and sermons that can be edited by any program that reads photoshop documents). I have used centerlinenewmedia.com before and they have awesome membership options. Others like churchmotiongraphics.com, renewed vision’s store, igniter media, shift worship, etc. are also there. So many websites sell great backgrounds, basically get on google and just search worship motion backgrounds and you will find hundreds of choices.
Can’t afford $20 per background? Go into apple store and find Shift Media Creator for around $6. It can turn any picture you have into a motion background. Unfortunately, I'm not sure about the availability of it on Android devices. You can also go to unsplash.com: free HD pictures that are license free, and make some sweet backgrounds. I even still use these at my church. If done right, they will look just as good as the ones you can buy from the websites.
Using shapes, like boxes, behind your words is something I believe in a lot. It will help your words not blend in to the background, and help them to be easily seen by your congregation. You can easily make them yourself on Propresenter if you click on editor, and look at the button by font editing that has a circle and a square. But, if you're as busy as I am, then I doubt you have time for that. Church Motion Graphics has four easy to use boxes that you can just import the template right into your Propresenter. (Click here to be taken to the website. Here are examples of each one that are from their website.)
I really believe that using these shapes is the best option. We have all struggled with our words being washed out by a certain background. If we had too dark of a background, we couldn’t use it if we had black font, and vice versa. We couldn’t use some backgrounds we really liked because our words couldn’t be easily read, this solves that. It makes the words stick out a lot better so you can use backgrounds you once were afraid to use. Also, it goes with why we make fonts large and all caps. It make the words super easy for the congregation to read, and that is the whole point. We can do all the cool media stuff on our slides that we want, but if they can’t be read then what's the point? Boxes make the words pop so the congregation can read without any effort.
Keep it Simple
Last point, do not try to get all complex in this. Everything should look simple and not attack the senses of someone. Motion backgrounds, again, should fall into the background. They should not be in a fight against the words for dominance. Here is my motto, “They should compliment, not distract.” Fonts should be easy to read and not some cursive font that no one can read. Make the font large and all caps, you will thank me later. DO NOT EVER use transitions. The option is there on Propresenter, but please let that die with late 90s and early 2000s PowerPoint presentations. They aren’t cool and WILL distract from worship. Keep it as simple as possible. Nice and clean slides are the way to go. Use two lines with boxes behind them, and backgrounds that add but do not distract. Simple. Here is an example of my slides.
As you see, I live by this motto of keeping it simple. I was taught this way and now I am teaching it to you. If you follow these rules I promise that your slides will look professional and your congregation will never have any issues following them.