Make a good first impression on your guests by becoming vigilant about some of the distracting technical idiosyncrasies that we tend to think are not a big deal. Here are a few tech issues that can become barriers for first-time visitors:
The 21st-century version of the dreaded missionary-slideshow is the PowerPoint presentation. Because someone took a whole bunch of pictures, there’s a felt need to create a slideshow and show it at church. Too often, this takes something that could be a great blessing and makes it a curse. It’s bad enough if there isn’t any thought to what kind of images are used. But when you make it the length of an entire song (and include a bunch of strange PowerPoint animations), it becomes something to be endured.
Think about first-time visitors: They probably don’t have any background information or know anyone in the pictures. If you can’t create a slideshow that is meaningful to someone who’s never attended before, it’s best to put it on Facebook.
There’s no way around it: Typos are going to make their way into your presentation. They’ll never be completely eradicated, but that’s no reason to excuse laziness. Be ever watchful in weeding them out. If they occur too often, they’ll definitely give your presentation a black eye.
Pastors often spend much more time putting the sermon together than the presentation. Because of that, it’s easy not to scrutinize the text that will appear on the screen. Leave time to read through your presentation aloud before you send it off to the tech person.
3. Bad Syncing
Your presentation is created to accompany and accent the service elements. It’s pretty important that everything is planned well and communicated to all the players. In too many churches, there’s a person running the presentation who isn’t paying attention. As a result, song lyrics come in late or the pastor mentions slides that never show up.
For the pastor, it’s important that you make it clear where the presentation should be advancing (or better yet, just manage it yourself). It’s also hard on visitors when you’re communicating to someone in the booth when they should be advancing to the next slide.
Another related problem is missing slides. It can be a real jolt when you forget to include a slide. This is a mistake that can happen to anyone, but check and recheck your sermon against the presentation to make sure it doesn’t.
4. Telling People to Turn Their Phones Off
Believe it or not, a lot of people use their mobile devices to stay up to date with your messages. They’re using a Bible app or taking notes or tweeting thoughts from the message. You want this. Sure, there are people who are idly scrolling through Facebook while you’re talking, but they’re generally people who wouldn’t be paying attention anyway. Ask people to turn the volume down, but don’t tell them to turn their devices off. Also, make it easy for visitors to get on your church’s Wi-Fi. Don’t lock it down behind a password that no one can find.
5. Not Offering a Digital-Giving Solution
People without context don’t understand the passing-the-plate thing, but they do understand giving generously. You want to make it as easy as possible to do so. Make sure they have a quick, secure and simple method—like Pushpay (Pushpay.com)—to give.
If you have your own church app, that’s even better, because after they give, they can stay connected to your church by watching your sermons, reading your blogs or listening to your podcasts. This can help encourage their return.