From ‘Power Point Clicker’ to ‘Visual Worship Leader’
Video “Free” – by Journey Box Media
What is it about this movie that is so moving? The Idea? The Music? The Visual Imagery?
I would venture it’s actually the combination of the idea, the music, and the video that makes this movie more impacting than any of those would have been on their own.
- We often have the idea (song lyrics) and the music (band) but neglect to include any visual elements at all. It’s not that a song needs to have visuals to impact someone, but rather that there is potential for us to use visual media to enhance the impact of our worship experience.
- Ideally every worship song would have a music video background that was custom made for that song… but that’s not the case. So it’s our role as visual worship leaders to make decisions about what visual content to show the congregation that will help people engage in worship.
Worship & Blindfolds
- What role does sight play in worship?
- How can something you see impact your worship?
- How can something you see detract or distract you from your worship?
Does this comment sound familiar? “That image or moving background is just distracting me from worshipping?”
The difficulty in addressing this question is that this person has separated seeing something beautiful from the act of worshipping and decided they are somehow mutually exclusive; You can only have one or the other.
The thinking behind this argument would be that passively observing beauty is not as ‘worshipful’ as actively expressing worship in a song or prayer.
But it does lead to some interesting questions like whether a sunset or the northern lights hinder us or distract us from worshipping… is visual beauty something we should avoid in church? Should we maybe hand out blindfolds at the door? Why do we assume beautiful art, media, motion backgrounds, lighting, etc… somehow keep us from honouring the creator of beauty itself. Isn’t beauty and sight and awe God’s idea to begin with?
I wonder if rather than asking whether too many visual elements would hinder our worship if we shouldn’t ask whether a sanctuary thats devoid of beauty with bland walls and boring carpets might actually be the thing that’s hindering us? If I had to choose, I’d rather have people complain the service was too filled with beauty…
A qualifying comment about visuals:
Sound is a beautiful thing we strive to use in our churches, but we do so with an awareness that it’s most beautiful when it’s played well, in tune, in time, with dynamics of loud and soft, and with intentionality and purpose… which is exactly the approach we should take as we strive to incorporate visual media elements in our services.
Some times the person at the back is their simply to click through song lyrics. And I think what churches need is not more power point clickers or computer tech ninjas, but rather visual worship leaders.
Creating Worship Lyrics Slides – Tips
Don’t make your text too small – it should be easily read from the back of the room. For something like PowerPoint, minimum size 28pt.
Which Fonts To Use
Avoid fonts like Papyrus or Comic Sans. Serif Fonts like Times New Roman are great for print but might not be as easy to read from a distance as Sans Serif fonts like Helvetica or Arial would be.
Adding a Background.
When you add a background, make sure your text is a contrasting colour. Another option for clarity is to add an outline or shadow to the text to make sure it is clear to read.
Contrast these slides with the first slide we did.
Line Breaks in your slides
Saviour he can move the
mountains My God is mighty to
Save, He is mighty to Save, Forever author
of Salvation, He Rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave
This example shows how the phrasing and line breaks don’t line up with the way you actually sing the song.
He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to Save
He is mighty to Save
Also be aware that too many lines per slide will feel cluttered, too few and you will feel like it’s switching constantly. Find a good balance for your song. Also realize that some lyrics need to be seen in context with the rest of the verse to have the most impact.
Examples – Faithful One
- If the song is about something – show it – eg. Rock, River, Cross, etc.
- If the song is about us worshipping – eg. Here I am To Worship – show a person worshipping to help us to identify and spur us to copy what we see on screen.
- Not every song has a perfectly matched background – colour or texture works fine
Not all motion backgrounds are created equal. Some are high energy with lots of movement and colour. Some are softer and more subtle. Choose carefullly when using motion backgrounds for your songs. Also, just because you can use motion backgrounds does mean you should or have to use them on every song. Some songs may be better suited with a still image and some songs might work better with a motion.
Another idea is to use a motion background on the chorus and switch to a still image for the verses to create some visual dynamics in the song.
Play the bridge “Name Above All Names” from the song How Great is our God – with a background movie of the Names of God.
Creation Songs – Use some of this footage from the ‘Earth’ DVD (not so much the animals but the scenery ones) for backgrounds to a song about creation.
Creator of Beauty – This is an example of specific pictures to fit exactly with the lyrics
Flickering Candle – Christmas Advent
After lighting a candle for advent, you could put up a motion background of a flickering candle with black background for the next song.
In what ways is this possibly more impacting for people then simply hearing it being read?
We often play a song in the same key – or I’ll key shift the movie audio to make it work with the next worship song. For example this video was in the Key of C and we played the song “Joyful” by Brenton Brown in the same key, right after the video.
After this movie we sang “Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord” with matching fog background from this video.
Running Media Sunday Morning
- Check for Typo’s
- Put up verse 1 during the intro
- Change to next slide as soon as possible… sometimes even right when last word on previous slide is being sung.
- Find out the order of the song from Worship Leader so you can actively lead people with the lyrics rather then guessing and reacting.
Advanced Media Techniques
Basic Version of Environmental Projection.
Level Ground Mennonite Church 2011 – Christmas Eve Service – 2 laptops – 1 extra projector in the middle.
Projecting Scenes & Backgrounds instead of building a set
Check out TripleWide Media for some interesting uses of more than one projector.
Here’s some info on how Pro Presenter uses can use 3 screens.
ProPresenter by Renewed Vision (Top Option in my opinion and experience)
Easy Worship – New version coming out soon for Mac & PC
Proclaim – Subscription based presentation software
Projector – by Planning Centre – iPad based software
www.worshiphousemedia.com – One stop shop for backgrounds and videos.