Relying on Sermon Slides

Sermon slides are wonderful things. PowerPoint sermons, as a visual aid for preaching, can be absolutely valuable. But they come with a risk. If you’re not careful, you may tend to rely on the sermon slide to preach your message. PowerPoint presentations are not preachers. You’re the preacher. The PowerPoint sermon is a means of helping you. Here’s how to identify the harmful habit of relying on sermon slides.

Signs that you may be relying on sermon slides.

Relying on pastor sermon slides can happen without your knowing it. What you need is some solid indications that your sermon PowerPoints are getting in the way.

  • Your PowerPoint sermon has more than 20 slides. PowerPoint sermons are too long if they stretch to over 20 slides. Keep it to ten or twelve.
  • You spend less than two minutes on a sermon slide. If you’re ripping through slides at the rate of two minutes or less, you have one of two problems. First, it may be that you have really short sermons, like 15 minutes long. Or, it could be that you’re stuffing your sermon into PowerPoint slides. Again, limit yourself to fewer slides, and spend longer on each slide.
  • Each sermon slide contains a lot of text. Placing a lot of your sermon substance on PowerPoint is a surefire way to rely heavily on sermon slides. If you find yourself doing a lot of reading from the PowerPoint sermon, you’re relying on the PowerPoint sermon too much.
  • You place your entire outline and subpoints on the sermon slides. A sermon outline is important, but it’s not more important than your sermon. An outline provides structure for a message, so featuring the sermon outline on your PowerPoint may tend to distract from the overall impact of the PowerPoint sermon.
  • You find that people are looking at the PowerPoint sermon more than they are looking at you. As a speaker, the attention of the people should be upon you. Of course, they will probably be looking at the PowerPoint screen now and then, but if they’re looking at it all the time, it’s probably because you’re placing too much information there. The PowerPoint sermon slides should serve to reinforce the content that you are speaking.
  • You spend more time preparing your PowerPoint presentation than you do preparing your actual sermon. Unfortunately, some pastors are slaves to their PowerPoint sermon preparation. It takes them long hours to put the information on the slides, to arrange the transitions, and to have everything ready to go. If you’re keeping your PowerPoint sermon simple enough, preparing it shouldn’t take long. Sharefaith sermon slides can help cut down on the prep time involved in PowerPoint sermon design.

Tips for improving your Sermon PowerPoints

So, what do you do if you find yourself relying heavily on your sermon slides? Here are four tips.

  • Display only the Scripture text for your PowerPoint slides. Since the Scripture ought to be the focus of your message, you would do well simply to display the Scripture text of your sermon. Sharefaith’s predesigned sermon slides contain a wide variety of PowerPoint sermons with the Scripture already included. See these examples below. There are hundreds more, of course. Use the Search Function on Sharefaith to find your text.
  • Have someone else besides you control the PowerPoint sermon. Freeing yourself of the responsibility to control each slide transition is a great way to free yourself of bondage to the PowerPoint. Give someone else control of the sermon slides.
  • Force yourself to use only as many sermon slides as you have main points. In order to train yourself to cut back, only include one slide per point. Thus, a three-point sermon would just have three slides, plus maybe an title slide and conclusion slide. This keeps the sermon divisions plain, but frees you up from placing your entire sermon on slides.
  • Instead of a whole PowerPoint sermon, use an introduction or title slide. Finally, if you really want to simplify, just use a title slide instead of a whole PowerPoint sermon. Using Sharefaith’s sermon PowerPoints is ideal for this. We’ve customized each PowerPoint sermon with an attractive lead slide, giving you a professionally-designed title slide for your sermon slide. Browse the PowerPoint sermon library to see our designs.

Most preachers long to preach with freedom. Unfortunately, with a fixation on technology or visual aid, this freedom can be severely limited. Rather than allow themselves to be constrained by PowerPoints sermons, pastors should use them merely as an aid, not as the substance of the sermon.

User better Sermon Slides. Start today.

About The Author

Daniel Threlfall

Daniel Threlfall has been writing church ministry articles for more than 10 years. With his background and training (M.A., M.Div.), Daniel is passionate about inspiring pastors and volunteers in their service to the King. Daniel is devoted to his family, nerdy about SEO, and drinks coffee with no cream or sugar. Learn more about Daniel at his blog and twitter.

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One Response

  1. Jen

    I agree, relying too much on your sermon slides lessens the value of worship. Instead of looking always on the Powerpoint slides, encourage the worshipper to open their Bible than to focus on the screen.

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