Re-Thinking The Use Of "Visuals" In Sermon Messages

In a recent study, Pastor Joseph Meyer studied the use of projected visuals during sermons for retention and comprehension.  In his study he set out to prove that the use of pictures on a PowerPoint during a sermon would actually increase retention and comprehension.  He set forth to argue that we have become a visual culture and that the use of pictures within a sermon would increase retention because it would evoke the sense of the eyes and emotions of the listener.  He did his study on his congregation over 3 months, a congregation of over 1,000 people in attendance every weekend.

To his surprise he found that:

  • Sermons with 'pictures only' in the PowerPoint were least effective.
  • Sermons with 'pictures and words' were better than 'pictures only' but not as good as 'words only.'
  • Sermons with 'words only' in the PowerPoint were the most effective.  

What Pastor Meyer found was that the use of pictures, in a sermon, actually distracted the listener from the sermon..
 Pastor Meyer suggests the following from his study:

                                          i.    Use very few slides.
                                        ii.    If you are going to use images, keep the images very simple.
                                       iii.    Make sure the images tie into the sermon.
                                       iv.    Project bible passages that are being quoted.
                                        v.    Use familiar recognizable images
                                       vi.    Acknowledge the slide/Make the connection with the sermon.

To learn more check out Pastor Meyer's full study at: