How much time do you devote to consistent presentation of theme in worship? Is what you hand out to people visually consistent with the word proclaimed? Are the worship screen visuals consistent with the printed visuals or are you mixing messages?
Each series, we attempt to be true to the scripture theme that has been selected by the Senior Pastor. As I have said before, we design worship around the scripture for the day. While considering the words for worship, consider strong visual images that direct worshippers to the theme of the day, too.
When planning, it is important to use a main image. That image needs to remain consistent throughout the worship service. Usually, each slide is some sort of derivative of the main slide. Much thought is given to that one image. It is used to tie the whole thing together.
A good example is the visual images used for traditional worship this Sunday. It is the Labor Day weekend. Therefore, our theme for worship is about how and why we labor. Since we have many corporate persons in our area, we went with a “climbing the corporate ladder” graphic that I purchased for the church on www.istockphoto.com. (By the way, it goes without saying that you either buy your images, use a free service or your get a camera and software and make your own. Either way isn’t expensive. But, it is the law.)
When choosing printed items and images for screens, here are a few things to consider when working with images and text for worship:
- colors that work in your space
- images that a correct for your screen size
- text that is easily readable
- images that match the theme, not the worship action
- In the traditional church, we are in a big stretch of ordinary time, which is represented liturgically by the color green. So, many of our worship visuals reflect that liturgical color. While not a hard and fast rule, we do give thought to appropriate colors for season. If you have an image or color that is in conflict with the color of the season, have a reason to do so — usually because of the theme image require you to use other colors. For example, you would have red normally in Advent. So, there needs to be a reason to use a Pentecost color in Advent.
Images that are correct for screen size
- Choose images that can be pondered and not passed off with a simple glance. No silly clip art allowed on the screens or in the bulletins. Use images that are specific to the theme. I prefer good photographs but you can find good graphic design files, too. Certainly, use them, but make sure that they aren’t too small, too large, or too cute.
Text that it easily readable
- Use a font that can make the text easy to pray and sing. While you may be using a font for your main slide for the visual it gives, use a cleaner one for the songs and prayers. Don’t just go for an effect — go for the excellent offering of the text to God. You don’t have to use only Helvetica or a typewrite font — be bold. However, always remember that you trying to assist the congregation, not trip them up. When in doubt about clarity, go a size larger that you think.
Images that match the theme, not the worship action
- People understand that you are reading from the scripture, so there really is no need to put up a photo of the Bible and, for that matter, all the words to the passage of the day. Just put up the reference or a key phrase for the passage that day — even though that won’t be all of the passage. Drive them to open their Bibles — either the book or on their mobile device. Leave out the set of praying hands for a prayer, too. People will understand that you are praying. Again, it is more important to use your single main image as the focal point of the worship, of which prayer is a part.
Do all that you can to offer excellent worship to God each week. Don’t skimp on the visuals. Lead people to worship the Holy not only with what they hear and say, but also what they see.