Images can often be much more powerful than words. Even though the above photo (from Barry Taylor‘s PechaKucha presentation at Emergence Christianity, January ’13) actually has words in the image, it’s not something that can be easily forgotten.
Doing my PechaKucha presentation was one of the most enjoyable speaking opportunities I’ve had in the past couple years. The challenge to create a talk based on 20 slides of 20 images sparked my creativity, and was both fun and very challenging.
Someone left a comment on a recent post (though, for the life of me, I can’t seem to find it right now) about how they had been experimenting with crafting a sermon based on images that were displayed during the sermon. They also shared that they had received some really wonderful feedback about the sermon and the use of images.
In the past two sermons that I’ve done here in Ashland, I’ve had slides rotating in the background with images, and incorporated some video as well (big shout out to The Work of the People for some of their great videos!). For example, on Palm Sunday, I just found all sorts of artwork and different multicultural depictions of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and had those in the background while I preached. You can see some of those images here. I did something similar for my sermon on John 20 and “doubting” Thomas – just had a variety of different art pieces rotating in the background while I preached.
Each Sunday, I’ve had people from all generations (young people and some of our oldest members) who have commented on how much they appreciate the art and the use of the images on the screen.
It doesn’t take a huge amount of time on my part, it adds a really beautiful aesthetic to the service, and people get caught up in the images and have said that it really adds to the whole sermon experience.
So, that’s one easy way to add something to our sermons – both of those sermons I preached were manuscript sermons.
But, what if we did some PechaKucha preaching too? What if we gave ourselves 20 slides. 20 seconds per slide. And crafted images and spoken word into a multi-sensory experience. For one, it’d only be about 7 minutes long, and folks might even remember what we said! After a quick YouTube search, I’ve seen that at least one person has tried doing it before…not sure it’s the most engaging presentation, but just wanted to say that I’m not the first person to think of this.
But if we are able to craft together a spoken word experience like that that is shorter, with images, it would help people have a more memorable experience, I think, and then because it is shorter, it would allow for folks to discuss and do some reflecting with the community, without the service going longer than 60 minutes (which, for us Presbyterians, makes people really, really antsy).
For those of you who have done a PechaKucha presentation before…what do you think? Would that work for another option for doing a sermon, for getting into the Word of God? Or if you’ve seen a PechaKucha presentation before, do you think it could work for a sermon and reflection time?