Unite in Worship

Uiwposter_large_1 I had the privilege of attending the Toronto Unite in Worship Conference this past weekend.  This is the 3rd time in 6 years I've had this opportunity (the event is the former Worship Together conference).

It was a great chance for me and a few of my worship bandmates to attend workshops and clinics for refining our skills and perspective on leading worship.  We were also able to spend some time worshipping together (with several hundred other worship leaders).  Those leading worship at the conference included Paul Baloche, Robin Mark, Starfield, Vicky Beeching and the Meeting House Worship Band.  And lest I forget the final evening was hosted/led by Israel Houghton and New Breed, which was something unlike anything I've ever seen or experienced.

Visual Worship Tips

A key development in corporate worship over the last few years has been the expanded incorporation of visual media.  More and more churches are moving away from the use of hymnals or song sheets in exchange for video projection units.  Whether your church uses MS Power Point or one of the many up and coming media platforms such as Easy Worship or Sunday Plus there are a few basic guidelines that should be followed when preparing slides or song displays.  I believe that following these guidelines will allow you to effectively incorporate images or videos into your worship time that will greatly enhance it and minimize distractions.

1.  Less is More: Simple images where the text can be displayed in a clear area are preferred to busy pictures where the text has difficulty being prominent. Click the examples below for a larger view.



2.  Consistency:
Use the same image on every slide of a song.  Use the same font on every song in a worship set.  Always use punctuation or always don't (I prefer no punctuation).  Being consistent in the areas allows for congruency in the worship time and prevents the reader (worshiper) from having to make mental adjustments to what they are seeing/reading.

3.  Transitions: For fast/upbeat songs do not use slide transitions.  For slower more reflective songs, use soft transistions such as crossfades or slow wipes. << Just be consistent with whatever you're going to choose (see point #2).

4.  Image Selection: Use images that contribute to the mood you are trying to create with the music.  As a personal preference, I rarely use images that show faces.  Faces tend to draw focus.

Ppsample3x_1This is an image I probably would not use.

Ppsample3_1This one I would use.

5.  Video vs. Still Image Backgrounds:
Unfortuanetly, like many new toys, video backgrounds are too often overplayed.  My rule with regards to the use of video backgrounds is simply this:  Follow the 4 previous rules ESPECIALLY rule number 1.  In a set of 4-6 worship songs I would probably only use video on 2 songs maximum.   Save the video images for the songs that you really expect people to be people movers; the ones that will draw the deepest worship response.

Some Resources:
Media Shout: This is the presentation software we use at GCC.
Photos.com:  Pay for an annual membership and get unlimited image downloads.
Istockphoto.com:  Pay per download for images.  Excellent library of images that is always growing.
Sermonade.com: Video and still image backgrounds.
WorshipFilms.com:  Video and still image backgrounds.

One last sample: