All posts tagged software

Five Qualities of Great Sermon Slides

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For a lot of churches, you’ve moved beyond the conversation on how you can integrate sermon slides into your services. You’ve got a PowerPoint, Keynote, or your slides in ProPresenter covered. You’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. But, just because you have these components in your service doesn’t make them effective. Sermon slides are not foolproof. In fact, I would even say that sermon slides done wrong could even distract from your preaching.

Here are five qualities of all great sermon slides:

1. They Have Engaging Imagery

Son of God Sermon SlideWhen you step into Barnes & Noble, you’re greeted by captivating imagery on every shelf. As you walk down the New York Times Bestseller aisle, you see excellent design on every cover. Why is this? Publishers know that to get 1,000 pages of story to sell in this age, you must first sell engaging imagery. It’s the same for us on Sunday mornings. For people to spend 20-40 minutes listening to your story, you must give them an engaging “cover” to capture their attention. The best way to accomplish this is with a great title slide that sparks the curiosity of your listeners.

2. They Make It Easier To Follow Along

Scripture-2You know what Sundays are famous for other than church? Sleeping. You know what sermons are famous for? Putting people to sleep. Don’t be that church. Don’t be that preacher. What if I told you that great sermon slides would keep your audience more attentive during messages? By displaying all of your scriptures, quotes, and points, you’re more likely to keep listeners’ minds off of other things and their eyes from dozing. Also, by presenting your information in two ways (speech and text), you’ll make it easier to follow your train of thought.

3. They Illustrate Your Message

Dad_Photo_SlideAccording to the 3M Corporation, we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. People have higher levels of attention, comprehension, and retention when teaching is presented in a visually rich form. God has clearly wired us to be a visual people. Beyond a great title slide, I recommend building images into your slides throughout your message. Telling a story from when you were a kid? Why not show a childhood photo? Speaking on fatherhood? Why not show a photo of a father and son together? People connect with images in a way that goes so much further than your words. When combined, you’ll leave a lasting impression.

4. They Make It Simple To Take Notes

Sermon_Slide_Template-Images.005One of the biggest things I learned from visiting Elevation Church, one of the fastest growing churches in America, is that taking notes is a big deal. When you walk into the super modern church, everyone is given a 8.5 x 5.5 note card and a pen. When I first saw this card was mostly for taking notes on the sermon, I honestly chuckled a little at the thought that people were going to take notes in that kind of environment. But, to my surprise, everyone around me was taking notes on the pastor’s sermon. They made it super simple to do this by including every major point, scripture, and quote on their screens. They even went a step further by including some fill-in-the-blank points. Each of these slides were kept concise and were displayed long enough for everyone to jot them down.

5. They Scream “Share This Information!”

Sermon SlideA few days ago, I had one of my most popular tweets ever. It read, “A retweet is basically a digital AMEN.” When something resonates with people in 2014, our natural response is wanting to share it with our friends and followers. I suggest building your sermon slides in a way that encourages your congregation to share it with their social media audience. I recommend displaying a “social bar” for the entire duration of your message. This sermon slide add-on paints a clear picture of exactly how they can share this content with their friends. Include hashtags and all of the social networks your church is on. I also recommend displaying tweetable points that fit in Twitter’s 140 character limit.

Do you have any other tips for great sermon slides?

Five Creative Ministry Tips: 5/15/14

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We’re excited for round four of our new, weekly list of useful tips for those serving in creative ministry! Each Thursday, we share practical advice on topics such as media, social networking, design, and marketing. While these tips may be simple, they have the potential to radically improve your church. These images are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ready, so help us spread the word by sharing them with your followers!

 
Keep your announcements brief.  Use a narrow font.
Design with purpose, strategy, and meaning. Clear lyrics from your screen whenever possible. Your skill isn't the most important part of your creative ministry role.

Have any other creative ministry tips that you’d recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

Creative Ministry Toolbox: Creative Cloud

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Creative Ministry Toolbox is a new, weekly segment that highlights one of our favorite tools that we use in the creative department of our church. Have a resource worth sharing? Let us know in the comments below!

Great design is super important in today’s church because our culture equates an organization’s aesthetics with its legitimacy. Simply put—God may look on the inside, but man will judge a book by its cover every time. If our ministries are going to be successful at reaching people in this digital age, we must present ourselves in a way that is aesthetically inviting.

gg07miuo3a2kfzx5zsthOne of our favorite tools for design in our church is Adobe Creative Cloud. When this subscription-based service was first introduced, there was a lot of hesitation in the creative world. People thought this was just another way for Adobe to make money. Well…that might be true, but there are definitely some benefits that make it worthwhile.

Without some of Adobe CC’s programs, most of the work that we do with video, projection, print, web design, and social media wouldn’t be possible. Photoshop is the #1 piece of software that I use in my department. But I’d be lost without Illustrator and Premiere, as well.

Here are three reasons why I’d recommend it for any church:

1. This is professional-grade software

In the design world, Adobe is king. Their software is used by designers everywhere and is the number one choice for professionals. When you subscribe to the full Creative Cloud suite, you’re equipped to edit images, design vector illustrations, publish print documents, create websites, produce videos, make music, and design motion graphics. You’re only limited by your creativity.

2. You can find tutorials everywhere

Because Adobe’s software is used by so many people, you can find tutorials all over the internet. There are professional classes on websites like Lynda.com or an endless supply of free, fan-made tutorials on YouTube. These will really come in handy because Adobe’s products aren’t always beginner-friendly. They take time and tutorials to truly master.

3. The pricing structure is reasonable

While there has been some critique of Creative Cloud’s pricing structure, there are definitely benefits. Beginners and those serving in ministry cannot always shell out hundreds (or sometimes thousands) for software like this. With CC’s monthly pricing plan, it’s very affordable for people getting started. You can get the entire suite of programs for only $50/month (for two computers). Upgrading from CS4 or higher? You can get a deal for only $30/month. Students can also get a deal for $30/month.

TCP Tip: Only need Photoshop? There is a really sweet deal that is only $10/month. Check it out here. 

Do you use Creative Cloud? Let us know in the comments below!

Creative Ministry Toolbox: ProPresenter 5

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Creative Ministry Toolbox is a new, weekly segment that highlights one of our favorite tools that we use in the creative department of our church. Have a resource worth sharing? Let us know in the comments below!

One of the most frequent questions that we get at TCP is also one of the easiest to answer.

What presentation software do you use?

PowerPoint all the way. If it was good enough for Jesus in the 90’s, surely it’s good enough for him today.

Of course, I’m kidding.

pro5_overviewChurch presentation software (CPS) has come so much further than PowerPoint would ever allow. And if there is one that outshines them all, it’s ProPresenter.

I’ve had the privilege of working with every CPS available. Whether you’re projecting song lyrics, displaying sermon points, or playing videos, ProP is going to do it better than any other piece of software. I’ve used it in small venues like youth groups, Sunday morning services of all sizes, and even large conferences of up to 20,000 attendees. It’s worked great for me everywhere.

Here’s three reasons why we’d recommend it for any church:

IT’S RELIABLE. You can be confident that ProPresenter is going to work as hard as you do to make Sunday morning great. In fact, it’s one of the most dependable pieces of software that I’ve ever used.

IT’S POWERFUL. I put ProPresenter through the ringer on Sundays and it’s fully capable of keeping up. It has seamless transitions, plays just about any format of media, and has the smoothest playback you’ll find.

IT’S SIMPLE. While it performs like a professional product, it’s very easy to use. I’ve trained volunteers to run a service in a matter of minutes and to create high-quality presentations in less than 30 minutes.

Check out all of the ProPresenter 5 features here.

Version 5, their latest release, is available on the Renewed Vision website for $399 for a single license or $799 for a site license. Keep in mind that you’ll only need the site license if you plan on running ProP on multiple computers at the same time.

For example, you could legally install it on both your pastor’s laptop and the church’s presentation computer with the single license. But, if you wanted to use ProP in the main auditorium and your kid’s ministry at the same time on Sundays, you’d need the site license.

TCP Tip: All of my ProPresenter enthusiasm is strictly directed towards the Mac-based software. If you’ve got an Apple Computer and ProP, you can take on the world. However, in my opinion, you will not get the same experience with the Windows-based version. For PC’s, I’d recommend something like MediaShout, though this will nowhere compare to the performance of the ProPresenter/Mac combo.

What church presentation software do you use?

Introducing The “Shift Media Creator” App

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Unknown-1Our friends over at Shift Worship made a big announcement this week that I believe is going to make a huge impact in the Church Media world. With the release of their “Shift Media Creator” app, you’re able to create custom, high-quality motions right from your iPhone. I downloaded this $5.99 app to check it out for myself and it far exceeded my expectations. No matter the size of your church or budget, this is a must-have for your ministry. The ability to create custom backgrounds for your services so easily is huge.

“You could keep finding worship media the way you’ve always done it. Search. Sort. Search some more. Or you could use that powerful, high-end camera you’ve got in your pocket to shoot exactly the image you want, quickly and easily make it exactly the right size – and make it gorgeous – before sending it straight to your ShiftWorship account to download into your software.

It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s fun. And it puts all the creative power right in your hands. Worship media will never be the same.”

Find out more about Shift Media Creator here.

What do you think about this app? Will you download it?