by Mark Entzminger/ April 25, 2019
If you’ve ever been leading your service for children and found yourself struggling to capture the attention of your tech team to cue the next media piece without saying, “Hey! Play the video!” then this post may be for you.
Over the past couple of summers, I’ve had the honor of speaking at some kids camps around the nation. Hours have been spent in getting all the media created, placed in order, adding sound effects, trimming videos, and all that goes into a well-crafted camp. But that all gets lost if transitions are not tight, and you and the media become more of a distraction than a supplement.
Here are some tips I use to help reduce the number of speed bumps I encounter during the ministry presentation.
I got this tip from Kelly Presson. All my notes are scripted out and printed for everyone involved. The sound and media techs receive an exact copy of the notes used by the team on the platform. Whenever there is a cue for a slide or audio transition, it’s colored in red. This allows them to easily find what’s next.
Green is another color used, which is the notation something needs to come on or off the stage. This helps ensure we don’t need to call for too much assistance in getting things set up.
In some instances, props are too big to be on stage at the beginning of the service, but most of the time, props that will fit in the hand, or be used to help illustrate, can be on the stage from the beginning.
I like to use a pop-up hamper (which can be purchased at a local department store) for easy access and to keep the items out of sight until I need them.
This might be the area that can help you tighten up your transitions more than anything. Getting all your service help together for a few minutes before kids begin to arrive, to walk through the flow of the service can make a huge difference.
This doesn’t need to be long, and as the team begins to get the rhythm, the time investment can become shorter. However, skipping this step will result in distracting from the lesson to give instructions from the stage.
Make sure every task has one person who is responsible, that they know where the props/supplies are, and that they are empowered to get the help needed ahead of time.
One of the great time-wasters is the selection of volunteers for games and illustrations. Though sometimes you may want to slow things down intentionally, most of the time getting pre-selected volunteers will keep things moving.
For our camp we create laminated cards which are given to the people before the service begins. Then when the volunteers are needed, we simply state, “If you have the card, please make your way to the front.”
This becomes a task that can be delegated as well. If you have a volunteer who needs something to do as kids are coming in, describe what kind of volunteer you need, and ask them to get people who are interested. This can help spread around who is selected from week to week as well.
It’s not uncommon for me to rely on different people to control the media each time I speak. If you have a rotation of volunteers, you may find this tip valuable as well.
After each of the slides has been created and placed into the presentation software, you may be able to export it as a thumbnail. Once this has been done, drag each image as a small graphic into the document. These need to be just big enough so the media team can see what slide comes up at that moment during the message.
It may take some additional work to get this step done, but it can really help you stay with your presentation.
Not everyone will like the added responsibility of controlling the presentation as they speak. But this tip has helped me immensely in some settings. Some of the media slides and audio timing is very important. To keep things going, I’ve begun to control my presentations from my phone.
Depending on the presentation software you use and your technology equipment, this may not be possible. But even Bluetooth remote controls can help things run more smoothly. For me, I use the ProPresenter on my Mac, and have my phone running the ProPresenter app as well. This allows me to easily tap the next slide when the timing of the transition is key.
Once I began implementing this tip, I saw immediate improvement in the flow of the service. Why? Because as gifted as people are, they cannot read my mind to know when certain media should be triggered.