Having everyone read the lyrics to a worship song is a time-old tradition.
From Hymnals, to overhead projectors (I still remember practicing switching out transparencies!), to PowerPoint, and now most often to Propresenter- displaying lyrics has been a journey! And until recently, displaying lyrics had no ability to integrate into the look and feel of the service, it was just… there….
But now, as church creativity is thriving in a lot of ways- we are seeing new ways to display lyrics, ways to integrate them and make them feel a little more custom, a little less distracting, and a lot better looking. I want to give you three that I have been using lately.
1. Change your background
I recently attended the Orange Conference, and they utilized this trick frequently and excellently. We keep the lighting dynamic- so why don’t we make the backgrounds a little more dynamic and fluid as well?
What that looks like is this: if you have a slower song- start the song with a slower background, just like you would have minimal lighting. As the song builds, change the background (go ahead and have it set up in Propresenter- maybe at the chorus or the bridge) just like you would the light scene. Go from a black and white background, to something with some uplifting color.
*Free tip: also play around with the media property effects. I have utlized many backgrounds that I then take away most of their color, or I slow it down, or speed it up. It turns your 10 backgrounds into 50 easily!Experiment w/ new ways to display your lyrics on screen to keep your worship experience fresh. @jhwilliams Click To Tweet
2. Change the font
If you are like 95% of churches out there- you probably increase the font size, and then hit your default font- whether that be a Helvetica, or an Impact, or an Arial. But hear me: don’t be afraid to shake it up! Have fun with it! Go check out dafont.com and see if there is anything that speaks to you!
I work in Next Gen- so we do a lot of modern stuff- some with crazy sick beats, some with very detailed minimalism. The same font doesn’t work on both of those. Yes- the lyrics are there, but if we want to integrate the media into the service, we need the fonts to fit the song.
For slow songs- I often choose either a very blocky font, or a handwritten theme- depending on the set. I also will keep back to back songs utilizing the same font so as not to be distracting.Make sure your lyric choice fits the song you are singing. @jhwilliams Click To Tweet
3. Change the template
Whether white, or black (depending on the color of the background I guess), a rectangle closely outlining the lyrics makes it look great. At Fellowship Next Gen, we utilize on average maybe 2-3 lines per slide. We up the font to make the lyrics really pop- and then we use the fill color to fill in the text box. Next we will drag the shape to be more of a tight fit around the lyrics, like a marquee, and slide the transparency down just slightly.
I also utilize various spaces of the screen. Don’t feel like you always have to go Center. Explore the screen for what looks best for you. Change up the color- change up the size. For some really energetic songs- I even change the angle of the text box (use this very sparingly or else this will turn into a Powerpoint real fast….)
The biggest goal, obviously, is to point people to Jesus. We don’t want to be a distraction, but too often that scares people from being creative and making things look a little smoother. Good use of these tips will make your service screens look like they belong in the scene, inviting people in and helping set the atmosphere.The biggest goal of your worship experiences should be for people to encounter Jesus. @jhwilliams Click To Tweet
Josh Williams is a coffee snob from Greenville, SC, who works as Next Gen Production Designer at Fellowship Greenville. Having titles such as worship pastor, student pastor, salesman, and HR manager under his belt- Josh focuses on relationships and helping plug people in to where they can serve and grow. He is married to his high school sweetheart.