Worship Backgrounds

Worship Backgrounds

I hate the phrase “the Devil is in the details.” I would much prefer the amended version “God is in the details.” While church leaders love to focus on big picture stuff, often it’s the little decisions and minor elements of a service that can make or break the experience.

 

A perfect example of this can be found in the quiet importance of choosing the right worship backgrounds for your service.

The Importance of Details in Church

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There are countless elements that go into a quality worship service. Obvious big-ticket items like the sermon, sermon illustrations, sermon series graphics, special presentations, and praise and worship often hog the spotlight. However, each of these larger elements is made up of countless little factors that collectively add up to the overall experience.

 

If the volume on the bassist’s amp is too high or a major detail is missing in the announcements, it can throw the congregation off. 

 

I’m not trying to be melodramatic here. If a preacher gets a reference wrong or the gain is too high on the soundboard, it isn’t going to completely ruin the church experience. After all, we’re all there for more than just a production. 

 

The Holy Spirit can take each wrong note and botched reference and supernaturally weave it into a powerful, Spirit-led encounter between the Lord and His people.

 

Even so, it doesn’t remove the responsibility that we collectively share to bring our utmost effort to bear on our work in the Kingdom. Everyone is aware of that classic verse from Colossians 3, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” 

 

We are called to pour our best into our service to God. 

 

This isn’t because the mistakes are going to ruin someone’s walk with the Lord or because it’s up to us to make sure they encounter God each Sunday morning. 

 

We’re called to pay attention to the details not because we care about the performance but because we care about the Creator. Tending to the tiny details of a service is a small-yet-powerful way that we can show God we are invested in the work that He has called us to.

 

I wanted to start with a quick shoutout to this need to be detail-oriented — with the right mindset, of course — because it’s critical to a well-lived Christian life. I don’t care if you’re a pastor of a megachurch, you’re spreading the gospel in a tiny mountain village of Nepal, or you’re raising a family, you have to be properly invested in the daily details that come with your calling.

 

It’s a middle ground of care and concern where the Lord loves to see us labor. If he sees us wander too far into a perfectionist-driven “performance mode” or head the other way toward apathy and disinterest, it can have a negative impact on our ministry.

 

If you’re wondering why I wanted to start with a random dissertation about details and quality control in church, it’s because it sets me up for the main (and to many the insignificant) topic I wanted to talk about in this post: worship backgrounds.

Why do worship backgrounds matter?

Worship is one of the key aspects of most modern western churches. It doesn’t matter if you worship with a hymnal and an organ or a fifteen-piece worship band and a smoke machine. The Church loves to sing its praises out to our God.

 

Side Note: For an incredible articulation on biblical worship, have a look at this sermon from Dove Award winning songwriter, Caleb Culver.  

 

Of course, you can’t sing songs without knowing the lyrics. While singing from a hymnal is a great old-school way to praise, most modern churches have opted for a more technological solution. We love to display the words via a projector or a jumbo screen or two.

 

This is a convenient way to help everyone see the words and sing along. But, of course, it opens up a Pandora’s box of other needs along with it. 

 

For instance, if you’re going to have a projector and screens, you also probably need to send a bunch of wires through your ceilings and walls to connect everything together. You also need a good presentation tool. This can be something as simple as PowerPoint or as elaborate as Media Shout or ProPresenter. It also requires more collaboration between worship leaders and IT crews as they make sure that song lyrics are in the local system and every verse, chorus, and word is lined up with whatever version of each song is being played.

 

Along with the lyrics, it also opens up the need to choose a church motion graphic. This can be something as simple as a black background and it can be as elaborate as a moving image. Either way, something has to be behind the words.

 

Backgrounds aren’t an essential part of a good service. Nevertheless, choosing a quality background can certainly add an extra layer of professionalism to your praise and worship experience.

 

For starters, the kinds of backgrounds that you choose can represent your church’s brand. They can reinforce your vibe, marketing, and other “business-y” factors surrounding your ministry.

 

More importantly, your worship backgrounds can have an impact on the service itself. If you put some serious thought and effort into your worship backgrounds, the visuals can become nearly as important as the music or even the words themselves. An appropriately moving background can quietly become part of the overall worship experience.

 

With so much potential at stake, backgrounds should never be taken lightly. They should be as carefully chosen as each song in the setlist and each swell and fade of the worship team. A poorly chosen image can detract from and even straight-up disrupt a service by distracting from the greater purpose of the worship itself.

 

With all of that said, I wanted to run through a quick rundown on how to choose a good worship background — and how to set up a powerful worship lyric display as a whole. From there, I wanted to share some of my favorite worship background sources, too, so that you’re never left without an image to go with your slides. 

 

Ready to take a deep dive into a seemingly-irrelevant-but-actually-really-important aspect of your church service? Me too. Let’s do this.

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A quick church media primer

Before we attack the problem of finding a good background, let’s quickly run through the basics that go into a high-quality worship lyric setup. After all, if you don’t have all of the following items in place first, even the best worship background isn’t going to do you much good.

 

The practical considerations that go into displaying your lyrics can generally be boiled down to the following considerations:

 

  • Hardware: What hardware do you need to have to display your lyrics? Do you have a small church or a large one? Do you need a projector and screen or are you thinking of going with large flat-screen TVs? These aren’t just questions aimed at your personal preferences. They should be carefully considered based on your current circumstances (physical space, finances, setup requirements, etc.). Remember, your hardware can make or break the usability of your system and the comfort of your congregation as they try to skim the lyrics from a distance and keep up with each song.
  • Software: Next up, you need to decide what software you want to use. As I already mentioned, you can go sweet and simple with something like PowerPoint. However, there are many limitations with free solutions like these. If you can afford to invest in an option like ProPresenter it can unify your projection activities and make it much easier to flawlessly run through each service.
  • Staff: As you consider hardware and software needs, think about your staff as well. How hard will it be to train your personnel to handle this equipment on a weekly basis? Will an application or piece of software be too complex to use without extensive training? If you have a largely volunteer-based staff, as do most churches, how can you pass knowledge on from one set of volunteers to the next?
  • Font: All of these major considerations tend to make this next one feel a bit superfluous. However, the font that you use to display your lyrics is also really important. You don’t want to use something fancy or spidery that might be hard to read from a distance. I recommend choosing a more universal font that capitalizes on clarity and simplicity, such as Helvetica or Arial.

 

At this point, you’ve got your hardware chosen, your software selected, your staff trained, and your lyrics and fonts ready to go. The last thing to tend to is your background.

 

This is the point where most people roll their eyes and quickly nab a bland picture or even leave the background blank. But of course, by this time you should be starting to pick up on the fact that the work doesn’t stop here. The background for each service and song should be carefully and prayerfully chosen. 

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Important worship media consideration

When choosing a background for your slides, it’s important to consider all of the factors. Here is a quick list of questions to ask yourself as you peruse through the pages of options (many of which are included further down!)

 

  • Will you go with a still background or a moving one? This is an important question to start with. It’s simpler to work with still backgrounds, and they’re also great for beginners. However, a tasteful motion background can really draw in the congregation. If you’re going to choose worship media, though, you want to make sure that you pick something that won’t distract people. I’ve spent a lot of time pulling together simple, non-distracting motion worship backgrounds, which I’ve included in the resources below.
  • Have you covered basic things like readability and color choices? Along with still or motion backgrounds, it’s also wise to ask yourself if each picture is readable with the lyrics. Do you need to use white or black text? Are portions of the image too bright or colorful? Are they washing out the words? Pull up your wordiest block of text each week and make sure you can read all of it while it’s on the background that you’ve chosen.
  • Will you stay with the same image each week or change it? It’s tempting to work with the same bank of photos over and over again. This makes it easy to choose something quickly and the familiarity can be less distracting for the congregation. However, I challenge you to consider picking new images whenever you can. This gives you the freedom to find pictures that truly reinforce the message of each song.
  • Have you considered what kind of images resonate with your particular congregation? What is the vibe of your church? Does your congregation tend to be on the quieter side? Do they love to break out in dancing and sing at the top of their lungs? Are they youthful or on the older side? Try to cater your backgrounds toward topics and choices that resonate with your congregation as much as possible.
  • Have you thought about your space itself? Is your sanctuary dark or light? Spacious or small? Do you have vibrant or more muted decor? You want your backgrounds to fit in well with the state of your worship environment.
  • Have you established a way to get the song list from your worship director to your IT team in a timely manner? If you’re going to choose your backgrounds thoughtfully (and I hope you will if you’ve read this far), you may want to set up a consistent system to help your IT and worship teams exchange information. This can be via Google Drive, Dropbox, email, Trello, or even text message. Regardless, make sure you have a way to get the song list to your IT team with enough time to thoughtfully choose backgrounds. 
  • Are your worship leaders and projectionists on the same page? Ask your worship leader(s) to schedule in time to work with the projection team each week. This gives them an opportunity to make sure that they understand things like the tempo of a song or the message and focus of the worship set. This kind of information can be crucial when it comes to picking out the right pictures.
  • Are you trying to stay economical or do you have a larger budget to work with? Finally, do you have a budget to work with, or are you pulling together your projection slides on the cheap? 

 

This last question is particularly essential to the entire worship background question. Now, just to be clear, I’m not about to start selling you on the idea that you need to set up an entire six-figure budget just for media for your worship services. 

 

It’s okay if you are doing things affordably — you can even try to source your worship backgrounds for free. 

 

God doesn’t need a Cadillac experience to be honored by your worship. 

 

However, if you’re going to use cheap or free backgrounds, you want to make sure that you know where to get good ones. This is why I’ve pulled together a list of my favorite resources for quality worship background images. Some of these come with minor fees, but most of them are straight-up free — and when used properly, they can absolutely take your service to the next level.

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Ministry Designs

You saw this one coming, right? I’m proud to start the list off with Ministry Designs’ own worship background resources. We’ve spent a ton of time carefully cultivating a library of thousands of free images that can be used throughout a church service as well as various other ministry activities.

 

High on our list of media is our library of premium motion worship backgrounds. We also have worship bundle packs that we’ve pulled together which include several free images that are on theme and can be used in concert together. 

 

If you ever find yourself in need of a worship background — or any church graphic, really — swing by the site and download whatever you need.

CreationSwap

CreationSwap Free Worship Backgrounds

I love CreationSwap. The resource is a really clever way to crowdsource church media graphics. It provides a platform for any ambitious or talented graphic artists to upload their media for church use. 

 

Many of the options are free while others are for sale (with profits going back to the original artist). There’s even a premium subscription option if you want to approach the site with a buffet-style mindset.

 

CreationSwap Review

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Church Motion Graphics

Church Motion Graphics - Paid

Church Motion Graphics is a big fish in the church graphics pond. The design studio has been in business for over a decade and focuses on creating content that is specifically designed for ministries to use in a worship environment. This includes graphics and videos along with other templates.

 

Church Motion Graphics has both a free and a subscription setting, once again leaving the door open for you to choose between a budget-conscious approach or an “all you can eat” extravaganza.

 

Church Motion Graphics Review

For a full review of everything that Church Motion Graphics offers, Click Here

Church Media Drop

Church Media Drop

If you’re like a lot of churches — especially smaller ones with limited budgets — you may want to stick with a free option. Like Ministry Designs’ media resources, Church Media Drop is another resource that is dedicated to providing purely free media for churches.

 

The site operates with a crowdsourced mentality, allowing both uploads and downloads as it simply serves in the humble capacity of a middle-man. If you’re looking for church-focused graphics that are always going to be free, this is a good spot.

 

Church Media Drop Review

For a full review of everything that Church Media Drop offers, Click Here

Church Edge

Church Edge - Motion Worship Backgrounds

If you have more of a budget to work with (we’re still only talking hundreds, not thousands of dollars here), you may want to consider Church Edge. This all-in-one graphics site focuses on providing high-quality, fully licensed, customizable images. They make it as easy to personalize your church’s media as possible.

 

The only catch? It can cost a decent chunk of change. As of writing this, the lifetime access requires a $500 upfront payment. While this evens out to be very affordable over time, it does require some cash flow to get started.

 

CreationSwap Review

For a full review of everything that Church Edge offers, Click Here

Igniter Media

Igniter Media

Igniter Media’s slogan is that “We create and curate media so the local church can better engage the culture and declare biblical truth.” The company has catered to the media needs of tens of thousands of churches for nearly two decades and is a great source to find some quality images if you’re in need of a background for your slides.

 

This is another paid service. However, they offer a range of tiers that spread from $11 a month for a specific media category (with worship backgrounds as an option) to a premium membership of $51 a month which gives you everything but the kitchen sink.

 

Igniter Media Review

For a full review of everything that Igniter Media offers, Click Here

Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay

 

Finally, you don’t always have to go to a worship media site to answer your worship background needs. There are also several quality sites that offer royalty-free images that work very well. Some may require a shoutout to the original artist, but otherwise, you should be good to go.

 

Unsplash has a ton of great nature artwork, much of which can seamlessly be slipped behind a set of worship lyrics. Pexels and Pixabay are also huge repositories of stock photography and media of all sorts. If you have creatives on your team that can work with raw images like these, you can cobble together your own unique worship backgrounds each and every week.

Putting Some TLC Into Your Worship Backgrounds

 

It’s no secret that pulling together a church service is a lot of work. While this obviously makes certain things a priority, it doesn’t mean that all of the other details should be left in the dust. 

 

On the contrary, whenever possible, it’s important to put some extra effort “into the cracks,” so to speak. Worship backgrounds are a great way to do this. By prayerfully picking out backgrounds that reinforce the songs, lyrics, and tone of the service, you can grease the wheels for a stellar worship experience that is uninhibited by tacky pictures, distracting images, or any other kind of half-thought-out, undervalued media decisions.

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