Have you ever had to make sermon slides on the fly? While my lead pastor has a pretty good track record of sending me his notes early enough that I have plenty of time to make his slides, I’ve created my fair share of last minute Keynotes. Times like these can come from a number of causes including everything from “late night revelations” to a pastor calling in sick and someone else having to fill in. Regardless of the reason of your now expedited design process, here are a few tips on how to pull together a sermon PowerPoint that looks awesome in a matter of no time.
1. Use Your Resources
When time is of the essence, it’s best to use as many pre-made materials as possible. That’s why I’m such a huge fan of websites like Creation Swap. They have an incredibly large archive of sermon slides that are ready to download and fill with your content. A lot of these are in Photoshop or Illustrator formats that are super easy to adjust, but if you’re looking for something a little more simple, a lot of their slides are available as jpeg stills. (These can be dropped right into your presentation software.)
2. Go With A Universal Design
While it’s best to have your sermon artwork actually “mean something” in relation to what your pastor is speaking on, you’re not going to have a lot of time to brainstorm creative ideas when it’s crunch time. I’ve found that it’s much easier in these moments to choose a “universal design” from Creation Swap rather than something specific. In other words, you’ll want to find a design that doesn’t necessarily communicate anything until you insert text. While you probably won’t win any major design awards from these slideshows, they will communicate the message while still looking clean and professional.
3. Keep It Simple
In order to have your presentation ready in time, it’s important that you don’t overcomplicate things. You can create a really great look on the fly by simply using basic design elements, such as shapes and colors, with fonts that are popular at the time. For example, I’ve been using a lot of circles, bars, and retro fonts lately. Don’t waste time on things like animations or clipart either. (I’m not sure that I would recommend these in your sermon PowerPoint anyway.) A simple fade from slide to slide will do the trick.
4. Remember Your Priorities
In the event that you have more content than you do time, remember which elements of the presentation are the most important. While I typically start by designing my title graphic, it’s much more important to have the key scripture ready for the congregation to see. The prioritized list that I normally try to follow in last-minute situations is: key scripture, title, main points, supportive scriptures, key phrases. If you’re wondering where pie charts fit in to all of this, you probably ought to reevaluate your sermon presentations!
Here’s a few examples of some last minute presentations that we have used on Sunday mornings: