The Death of PowerPoint

by Aaron Helman December 3, 2012   Blog

 

The Death of PowerPoint?

 

There was a point in time when your church could get away with utilizing a mediocre PowerPoint presentation.

 

Unfortunately, that day was 1998.

 

Right now PowerPoint is 22-years-old which means that it’s old enough to drink (unless it’s a Baptist) and virtually every one of your students has seen and used it dozens of times in school.

 

High schools are replacing chalkboards with PowerPoint presentations. Students as young as nine-years-old are creating PowerPoint presentations.

 

What does that mean?

 

It might mean that your hastily-built slide deck looks sloppier than the presentation Timmy made when he was in the fifth grade. You don’t want that.

 

Even worse, it might make a student feel like he’s in Mr. Warren’s history class all over again – and that student really doesn’t like Mr. Warren’s history class. You don’t want that either.

 

Ten years ago, including text (and glorious clipart) on a screen was an effective way to reinforce your message. You were able to create a visual message to reinforce your verbal message. Nice.

 

But today, a mediocre PowerPoint presentation is likely to stir up associations that you don’t want connected to your message – things like homework and boring teachers.

 

For white collar adults, a mediocre presentation will stir up connotations of that awful two-hour long meeting.

 

The worst part?

 

Since it takes your time and energy to build a presentation, that means you’re investing your resources into something that is diminishing the effectiveness of your message.

 

In 2012, a polished message without visuals will be more effective than a polished message with mediocre visuals.

 

To put it another way, if you wouldn’t go up there with a guitar that you never really learned how to play, don’t go up there with slides that you don’t really know how to use.

The way I see it, we’ve got three options.

 

First, read Matthew 7:19. Then choose one of these:

 

Learn how to be a good designer.

A word of caution here. Learning how to design slides is going to be like learning how to play piano – it’s going to take time and effort.

 

[Kolby, I’ll leave this paragraph for you if you have resources you’d like to promote or affiliate links to plug-in that might be beneficial for aspiring designers.]

 

Get someone else to do it.

Sometimes you can find a really great volunteer, but if you’re looking for a deck of professionally designed slides every single week, you might have to look to pay somebody.

 

Stop using PowerPoint altogether.

If putting together presentations steals your time from more important things, don’t do them. This is especially true if your presentations are actually reducing the efficacy of your message. You have my permission to stop.

 

Either way, if you’re going to invest time and money into technology, make sure that technology does what it’s supposed to do – help you point people toward Jesus Christ.

Written by: Aaron Helman

Aaron Helman is on a mission to help end the epidemic of youth worker burnout. He writes Smarter Youth Ministry to help youth workers with their biggest frustrations - things like effective communication. He is also the youth minister at Firehouse Youth Ministries in South Bend, Indiana.

  • I think that SlideShare is an excellent resource for inspiration. Here’s one I did based on a presentation where there were a dozen people in person, but nearly 1,400 have seen it online: http://www.slideshare.net/paulclifford1/10-ways-to-build-your-author-platform-in-the-internet-age

    I think you should start by checking for inspiration and build based on what you like, not based on what Microsoft gives you.

    Paul

    • Thanks Paul for the comment. I agree that you need to start designing for yourself!

    • I love SlideShare! The two design tips I would give people:

      1. Study the top-rated presentations at SlideShare.
      2. Be prepared to spend 20 minutes per slide (hopefully this means no more 40-slide presentations too!).

  • Pingback: The Death of Powerpoint « Insomniac memos()

  • Oldbrotherdave

    Great word man! I teach this stuff at uninversity and I couldn’t agree more. There has actually been decent research on this and if you are putting the same words on the screen that you are saying (like your points in a sermon) you actually DIMINISH the cognitive takeaway of your listeners by A LOT!! No preacher or teacher wants that…


Written by
Aaron Helman is on a mission to help end the epidemic of youth worker burnout. He writes Smarter Youth Ministry to help youth workers with their biggest frustrations - things like effective communication. He is also the youth minister at Firehouse Youth Ministries in South Bend, Indiana.

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