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Projecting More Than Just Lyrics

by Greg Hanson

In the vast majority of churches, corporate worship through music is a key component of the worship service. For several decades, this meant turning to a certain page number in the hymnbook or chorus book found in the pew rack in front of you. Those days are increasingly behind us.

With the advent of affordable video projectors and projection software, worship leaders are no longer limited to what’s in the hymnbook or chorus book. Now they can choose from a wide variety of songs while projecting the lyrics on a screen for the congregation.

A natural benefit of projecting lyrics in this way is that more expressive worshippers are freed up to lift their gaze out of a book and raise their hands in praise. Many have found that this simple change in posture has greatly enhanced their personal worship experience and ability to focus on the object of their worship—Jesus.

But the ability to use projection provides much more flexibility than merely projecting lyrics. Worship leaders can take advantage of the opportunity to enhance the music portion of the worship service by adding a variety of elements.

Choosing a Slide Background

Special care should be taken when choosing a background for the lyrics. Some churches prefer to use a solid black background while projecting the lyrics in white or yellow. Others try to establish an identity by using a church logo as a watermark on the screen. But to take better advantage of the potential of projection, choose a background that will compliment the theme of the song, set, or service. (Alternatively, if your software allows, you could use a looping video.)

For example, if you are singing a song about evangelism, choose a background image that shows the earth or a crowd of people. If you are singing a song about the crucifixion, use an image of a cross. At Christmastime, use images of the nativity or of a newborn baby.

Whatever image (or video) you choose to use as a background, make sure that the lyrics are still clearly legible. You want the image to enhance worship, not distract from it. If the colors of the image make it impossible to choose a font color that can be seen, try adjusting the brightness or contrast of the image. Adding a shadow to the lyrics can also help.

If the lyrics are still not legible, place a semi-transparent rectangle over the entire slide. In most cases, a black box with a transparency of about 50 percent works well. Just be sure to bring the lyrics to the front of the rectangle. This technique can also be useful if you use an image as a background for your message.

Using Scripture

During interludes in the music or during solos, why not display a relevant Scripture verse? This is especially meaningful if the song is based on a particular verse. This can teach Scripture to the congregation while letting them know that the song is based on the Bible.

You can also display Scripture for the congregation to read aloud together as an introduction to a song. This can serve as a call to worship or as a transition into a more reflective song/set.

Helping the Congregation Understand

For songs that contain unfamiliar, “churchy,” or theological terms, it can be helpful to the congregation if you include a definition on the screen. Simply put an asterisk (*) at the end of the word in the lyrics and put the definition (or explanation) at the bottom of the screen. This can be helpful to let the congregation know what they are singing and to create a teaching moment.

For example, if the song contains the word “Hallelujah” you can place a definition in the bottom right-hand corner that says, “Hallelujah – a Hebrew term that means ‘Praise the Lord.’ It is generally used to express praise or thanks.”

Adding Multimedia

Short video clips can be inserted into your presentation to be used as transitions, to set a mood, or to cause the congregation to reflect on a particular issue or question. Just be sure that the video will enhance (not interrupt) the worship. If the video is more of a sermon illustration, use it just before or during the sermon.

You can also create a slideshow for the congregation to watch while listening to a selected song. This works well during services with an emphasis on missions. In this case, you can select a variety of photos showing a particular mission field. If a team from your church has recently returned from a trip, use their photos (with their permission, of course).

Depending on the software you are using, you may be able to use looping videos as a background for the lyrics. This allows for greater flexibility, but be careful not to go overboard. Your goal is not to impress people with technology; your goal is to create an atmosphere conducive to worship.

By using these suggestions and incorporating some of your own ideas, you can elevate the impact of your presentation far above a simple display of lyrics. With a bit of creativity and a lot of prayer—combined with the leading and blessing of the Holy Spirit—your congregation can be ushered into the presence of God.

2011 Greg Hanson / PowerPointPastors.com


PowerPointPastors.com is provided as a ministry for pastors/preachers, especially those in churches without large attendance or flexible budgets. Most resources on this site have been designed by Greg Hanson for use at Sunrise Wesleyan Church. While Greg maintains the copyright for original material, permission is granted for pastors to use and adapt these resources for use within their local church... just don't resell it.