Question:

Is it appropriate to have PowerPoint presentations during services? Personally, I find it very helpful in keeping up with Bible verses during the sermons, but I wonder if God approves it. I don't know how the brethren feel. This is something I have been wondering about since I began going to the church.


Answer:

Aids used in illustrating lessons have been long used. Ezekiel was told to put on several demonstrations:

  • He built a model of Jerusalem with a brick and laid siege to it (Ezekiel 4:1-3).
  • He laid 390 days on his right side and 40 days on his left (Ezekiel 4:4-8)
  • He made bread and cooked it over dung (Ezekiel 4:9-17)
  • He shaved his head with a sword and divided the hair into three piles (Ezekiel 5:1-4)
  • He went around stomping (Ezekiel 6:11-14)
  • He made a hole in the side of his house and moved out through it (Ezekiel 12:1-16)

There are more, but point is using illustrations to help get a point across is a well-established practice. Jeremiah used a sash in a prophecy (Jeremiah 13:1-11). Agabus tied his hands and feet with Paul's belt to make a point (Acts 21:10-11). Preachers have long wrote out points. Blackboards and white boards are common. My grandfather used to do sermon charts on bedsheets -- a whole sermon illustrated with one large chart. See Chart Sermons for some examples. PowerPoint is merely a modern way of doing illustrations that has been going on for thousands of years.

PowerPoints can be used improperly. I've seen far too many use the slides to post the passages so people did not have to look up the verses. I personally think that is poor training for the congregation and makes it far too easy to take a passage out of context and no one notice. I've also seen preachers use it to speed up their presentations, so that verses can't be considered because not enough time is given. But used well, slides can give the audience reminders of what passages are being read and for those slower at finding passages, a bit of extra time to find the next passage.