A couple of years ago, I wrote an article explaining my conversion to
the use of an LCD projector as a means of supplementing my preaching
with graphics displays. At the time I was using Corel's Presentations
software, which is a very capable program, but not as widely used as Microsoft's
PowerPoint presentation software.
About three months ago I began using PowerPoint, and I am
absolutely enthralled with the program. Not only is it
relatively easy to use, its printing and exporting capabilities make
it a tremendous teaching asset. Note the following features of
the program, and the way I have been able to utilize the feature in
The PowerPoint Program is ubiquitous. I found
myself a bit limited in using Corel Presentations because no
one else did. Using PowerPoint allows me to use my setup
for visiting preachers who use PowerPoint (they can simply
bring their sermons on a CD), and when I find a sermon I like from
another preacher, I can easily rework it and preach it myself,
without having to start from scratch. An example: my
sermon, The Christian in Time of War. I borrowed the material
from a sermon brother Steve Wallace preached, and his presentation
can be found at the Truth Magazine web site (click
here). My version of the same sermon can be found on the Sound
Teaching site hosted by the West Side church where I preach (click
The Printing Capability. One of the best ways to use the
program is to supply handouts for the audience. I found the
best way to do this is to choose up to six primary slides in my
sermon, and print them in handout form, 3 slides per page. When
done in this way, the program prints the handouts with the slides on
the left, and note lines on the right. You can put up to six
slides on a double sided copy. The slides print well, and make
for an attractive and useful study help.
Many templates are available. One of the limitations of
the Corel product was its limited number of available
background templates. Though you could make your own, with
different gradient and colors, to really have an eye-popping
presentation was a bit beyond the capability of the average preacher.
Too, some fonts, when used in Corel, would not work well, and
had a tendency to foul up some of the animations possible in the program.
This is not so with PowerPoint. Many free templates
exist on the internet, and it seems that all fonts and animations
Internet capabilities. With the Presentations
software, the best way of publishing your material to the internet
was by publishing it as HTML pages, with the slides as .gif files.
Though workable, the end product was less than good. In order
to keep file sizes down, the size of the slides were small, and small
text was not readily readable. In contrast, the PowerPoint
files can be uploaded directly to the internet. Their file
sizes are much smaller, and anyone who has the free PowerPoint
viewer, can get full size presentations complete with animations and dissolves.
If you combine the PowerPoint presentations with streaming
audio of the lessons (which we will discuss in a future article), it
is almost like being present at the actual sermon! There are
numerous web sites with PowerPoint presentations, and I am at present
aware of three that combine the presentations with audio of sermons:
If any readers are aware of others, please let me know. I would
like to combine them into a list for a future article.
Suggestions for Using PowerPoint
Be careful with colors. Not all colors work well on the
"big screen." Garish colors such as hot pinks and
neon greens do not seem to do well. Too, mixing colors (like
wearing a pink tie with a lime green leisure suit), takes away from
the sermon itself. People are to busy gagging to listen!
If you are a novice at using PowerPoint, I would suggest going on the
internet, and looking at the efforts of others.
Be careful with fonts. A presentation looks better if it
is consistent throughout. Using one font for Titles, (Maybe
something a bit fancier), and one for Text (something standard like
Times New Roman, Arial, or Verdana), is sufficient. Otherwise,
it can be distracting. Too, be sure to have fonts large enough
to be read. It is not necessary to get all your information on
one slide, as there is no extra cost (as with transparencies) for
using multiple slides. Where I preach, the absolute minimum for
Times New Roman is 28 point text, though 32 and above is to be preferred.
Depending upon the size of your image in the auditorium, you may
One final caveat about fonts. If you wish to publish your
sermon presentations to the internet, you need to know that the
viewer that individuals will use to see your sermon uses fonts that
are on individual's computer. So, those beautiful slides you
prepared, using fancy (but not common) fonts, will not look right on
the other person's computer unless they have the font as well.
Be careful with slide transitions and animations. While
slide transitions and animations are nice, they can become distracting.
Normally, I only use a slide dissolve on my first and concluding slide.
Any more than that is overkill. Also, some animations simply
take too long to complete, so consider using these techniques judiciously.
Graphics can detract! Graphics can really add
"punch" to the sermon presentation, but they can also
detract from it. Understanding how to manipulate graphics
(making the background transparent; changing clashing colors;
manipulating size) can be helpful. I personally have an
aversion to cute, cartoon people, when I am discussing a serious topic.
While I have no problem with illustrations in general, I am more
likely to use images like those on the left, rather than those on the right.
These are only a few suggestions on how to use this wonderful tool.
The potential for utilizing this program as a teaching tool, both
locally and on the internet, is great. If any reader has
questions or suggestions, please feel free to send them. I will
be glad to answer any queries directly, and perhaps it will give more
material for future articles.