Christian Powerpoint or Free Open Office
Powerpoint or the free version of Open Office Impress is available and a very good choice for a Church environment. Open Office Impress is a free downloadable counterpart almost identical in usage to powerpoint, but of course it's free. For tight budgets Impress can be a very good alternative for slideshow presentations. I have made presentations that I have saved to a powerpoint file when needed and it works just fine. Background sound works fine in Impress (or at least in version 2.4); but it can present an issue when converting to powerpoint. Usually for sermon outlines you would not be using sound anyway, so this should not be an issue.
Controlling the powerpoint show is a must, so first don't use timed slides. The speaker needs to have control of the transition of slides or flow of the presentation. This allows the speaker to talk as long as he wants between presented points on the slide show and keeps the slides in time with the speaker. If the screen keeps moving then attention is taken away from the speakers message onto the show. If the speaker needs to stop the show periodically it is easy to blank out the screen in PowerPoint simply press the "b" key for a black screen or "w" key for a white screen. The slide show will go to a black or white screen, and pressing any other key resumes the show.
One should avoid the use of random slide transition effects on animations and slide transitions simply because they can. It may give a lot of interesting action on the screen but before long the audiences attention is no longer on what the speaker is saying but rather on the neat cool effect. Special effects and sounds should only be used when they have the purpose of drawing attention to the point being made. Animations should only be used to draw attention toward important points. They should not be used simply for show.
It is wise to stick with one or two fonts in the presentation, after all the message itself is what is important not the presentation details. Keep the font size large enough to be seen easily from the back seating area. I have usually found that a font size minimum of 24~28 is needed. Use only black or white fonts and then against a light or dark background. Poor Font to background color ratios, make for hard reading and will distract the viewer.
Powerpoint is key element of worship, to project the song lyrics during the music; and to help illustrate sermon points in order to help the congregation to remember important points of a sermon. Powerpoint can be used to project main outline points to add additional punch. Powerpoint is to add to your sermon, not take away from it.
There is debate within churches on the usefulness of Powerpoint and whether it helps or detracts from a preacher's sermon. The key is, if it is done right.
Powerpoint has the potential to be an extremely helpful and powerful tool, if it is used correctly. Utilizing a presentation with Powerpoint doesn't automatically make it more compelling. Just as it takes time and attention to prepare to speak publicly, it takes the same amount of care and attention to design and prepare Powerpoint.
When using Power Point for Dramatic slideshows to promote events like Camp, Children & Teen Ministries for example then you want to use timed transitions, animations, sound and whatever to draw the attention fully to the slideshow.
All things are to be done decently and in order as the Bible tells us.
The Christian Counter
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