Backgrounds That Make You Say “What?”

I tend to think that when and if churches project song lyrics during a worship service, they should take some time beforehand and pay attention to the little details in order to remove as many distractions as possible.

I wrote about ways churches can practice “projecting excellence” here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Some churches take the opposite approach and don’t pay much attention to the projection at all. In many of these churches, one hallmark of their use of backgrounds.

I’m all for using a background – if it works well and isn’t distracting – but usually have a hard time with different pictures popping up on different slides as if a picture of a man in a field of grain with his hands stretched to the sky is supposed to help me engage with God any better.

A friend of mine recently visited a church like this and it got me wondering. How tacky can you get?

Let’s explore.

Here we have the classic hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King” over an ice sculpture of two swans, creating a heart shape in the middle. Poignant.

Or how about the chorus of “How Great is Our God” with some cute kittens to help you worship?


And what could help us think about how everlasting our God is more than the space shuttle shooting into space!

This picture makes me feel peaceful. And Jesus returning will make me peaceful. This is a great combo!

All kidding aside, what on earth could make you want to worship Jesus more than chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven?

God walks with me even in hard times. Blessed be his name.

That reminds me. Dogs are a man’s best friend!

I think I will save this one for the opening song next Easter. People will go crazy!

And finally, this one is self-explanatory.

On second thought… maybe pictures are too distracting as backgrounds. I think I’ll stick with simple.

5 thoughts on “Backgrounds That Make You Say “What?”

  1. Marie@musicademy July 20, 2011 / 2:17 pm

    Love love love this post.
    We (Musicademy) produce some worship backing tracks that have onscreen words as well as the audio track. Time and time again people have moaned that we don’t have anything other than white words on a black background.
    We did some research and found that many people found them irritating and distracting. You can see the comments here http://www.musicademy.com/2009/02/moving-images-behind-the-words-on-worship-songs-a-help-or-a-hindrance/

    So glad to see someone else addressing this issue. So many images used are naff (does that translate?) And even if they aren’t, repeat exposure to them is tiring and lacks the initial impact.

    By all means use images occasionally in a presentation or meditation to add real impact, but don’t subject your congregations to them constantly.

  2. Adam July 21, 2011 / 10:40 am

    Oh, how glad I am that I left my RSS reader to view this post with the pictures. 🙂

  3. Jon July 26, 2011 / 10:26 pm

    The problem with those slides is obviously the lack of a drop shadow.

  4. Dave Helmuth (@adlib247) August 11, 2011 / 11:27 am

    This is great! One thing it does well is give definition to the scores of mountain, river, and ocean backgrounds being used as…well, nonsensical. No more artistic or helpful in creating a space where people can meet God than…kittens. Although, there’s this one lady at church that would just weep to see such tender feline creatures. 😛

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