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10 Ways to Be Terrible at PowerPoint

Posted on by Philip Nation in Humor, Leadership, Preaching | 1 Comment

On a regular basis, I present information. Weekly, I preach sermons and teach Bible studies. Periodically, I teach at universities. On top of those, I also speak at leadership conferences of different types. Suffice it to say that I’ve been a bad presenter in the past and have been witness to some bad presentations in my time. Honing my presentation skills is something that has required a fair amount of discipline in my life… which is a joy to give so that the truth being discussed is not muddled by communication goof-ups.

PowerPoint (and all of its digital equivalents) is a great tool for speakers, teachers, and presenters of all sorts. As we’ve all watched presentation moments die in front of us, let me give 10 warnings about how not to use PowerPoint.

(For the easily offended among us, please take note that I have my tongue planted firmly in my cheek for the following list. Enjoy.)

  1. Put too many words on a slide. After all, the more words you put on the screen, the less people will actually listen to what you are saying.
  2. Repeat this on every, single slide. Every time a new slide up, make sure it is a flood of words that distracts the listener from the point you are actually making.
  3. Read every word on every slide. Assume your audience is not intelligent enough to actually consume the information.
  4. Sweeps, pop-ins, fly-away transitions. The use of distracting movement, noises, and odd effects will surely enhance your presentation.
  5. Include dated clip art. After all, there is no need to use nice photography of real people and real life to illustrate how a principle relates to everyday situations.
  6. Don’t set up early. Let everyone watch you wrestle through the set up process and then ask the audience for help. It is so endearing to watch you struggle.
  7. Talk into the screen. When speaking, turn your back on the audience and face the screen while you talk so they understand your priority is on your information rather than on their learning.
  8. Use, at minimum, one slide per minute of talk time. Rushing through more slides than you have time shows that this was a talk “from your heart” rather than one of those sterile “I prepared diligently for this time” presentations.
  9. Forget the order of your slides. Make sure it is a surprise every time you go to the next slide so you and the audience can share in the next digital treat.
  10. Use it as the point rather than the tool. Spend all of your time preparing your slides rather than your talk to ensure maximum dullness and ineffectiveness.

Check in soon for my next post on “10 Ways to Be Awesome at PowerPoint.”

Does Anybody Know that You Are a Christian?

Posted on by Philip Nation in Discipleship | Leave a comment

Karness delivers a very memorable poem with a powerful mic-drop moment.

“If I Stand” by Rich Mullins Gets an Owl City Cover

Posted on by Philip Nation in Music | Leave a comment

Owl City is the creative domain of singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Adam Young. He has written original music, done great collaborations, and offered some wonderful covers of other beautiful songs. Since my teenage years, I have loved the music of Rich Mullins; a man it feels we lost far too soon from this life. However, his legacy of faith and music continues to live on through singers like Adam Young.

Take a moment and breathe in this reminder in song… If I Stand.

Football vs. Church: The Research

Posted on by Philip Nation in Church | 1 Comment

In this recent study by LifeWay Research, we learn about the patterns people show when the choice is between football and church attendance.


Most churchgoers won’t skip church for football

By Bob Smietana

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Most American churchgoers would rather attend church than watch their favorite football team. But a few diehard fans are willing to miss out on worship to watch a game.

About 1 in 7 churchgoers (15 percent) say they’d skip church in order to watch their favorite football team, according to a survey of 994 churchgoers from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

PrintResearchers found most of the faithful balk at skipping church for football.

More than 8 in 10 (83 percent) disagree with the statement: “I would skip a weekly worship service in order to watch my favorite football team.”

Many worshipers had particularly strong feelings—nearly 7 in 10 (68 percent) strongly disagree.

“Most churchgoers put divine revelation ahead of division rivalries,” says Scott McConnell, vice-president of LifeWay Research.

Some churchgoers, though, are more devoted to their team. Especially when the team is doing well.

Two years ago, Daniel Espy, pastor of The Bridge Church in Snohomish, Washington, hosted a special 8 a.m. service in order to accommodate Seahawks fans, whose team had experienced a revival after years of struggling.

The early service started as a joke on the church’s Facebook page. Espy joked that all churches in Seattle should hold early services, so fans could worship and then watch a playoff game. The idea took off and eventually landed the church on the front page of the local newspaper.

These days The Bridge has two services, making it easier for church members to worship before games. Still, attendance goes down when the Seahawks have an early game

“Attendance can swing about 30 to 40 percent, depending on kickoff,” Espy says.

LifeWay Research found faithful football fans in the West (22 percent) are more willing to skip church than those in South (13 percent) or Northeast (13 percent.)

About 1 in 4 church-going men (22 percent) say they’d skip church to watch football. That drops to 1 in 10 for women churchgoers. Catholic football fans (20 percent) are more willing to skip church than evangelicals (12 percent).

Espy says he’s taken a good-natured approach to those who skip church to watch football. That works better than a guilt trip.

“Honestly, we just try to show people that Jesus is better than football,” he says.

Bob Smietana is senior writer for LifeWay’s Facts & Trends magazine, FactsandTrends.net.


The phone survey of 2,000 Americans was conducted Sept. 19 to Oct. 5, 2014. The calling list utilized Random Digit Dialing. Sixty percent of completes were among landlines and 40 percent among cell phones. Maximum quotas and slight weights were used for gender, region, age, ethnicity, and education to more accurately reflect the population. Responders were screened to only include those whose religious preference is Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, or Non-denominational Christian who attend a religious service on religious holidays or more often. The completed sample is 994 surveys. The sample provides 95 percent confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 3.5 percent. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.


How 5 Different Creatures Flap Their Wings & Why You Should Care

Posted on by Philip Nation in Leadership | Leave a comment

Infographics have become a common way to communicate information visually. From 2014, I thought that this animated infographic from Tabletop Whale was one of the more fascinating of the year.

But why would I post an infographic about the wing pattern of the hawk moth? As you can imagine, it’s not really about the hawk moth or the dragonfly or the other creatures in the infographic. For me, it is all about the engagement of information.

Infographics engage us on multiple levels of information consumption. For this one, it offers up knowledge through text, static photo, and video. It is the reminder to me as a leader that people need to consume information in multiple ways.

Infographics provide a break to the day for many people. Do I need to know about how the Egyptian fruit bat flies? Not really. But the minor distraction provided a mental break in the action for me to regather my thoughts.

Infographics often provide inspiration. The vast majority of infographics that I consume have nothing to do with my work and ministry. However, they often spark my imagination. It is a quick interdisciplinary bit of learning that encourages me to think creatively.

Infographics are a bridge to others. I’ve noticed that people all across the societal spectrum visit the infographics neighborhoods of the Internet. It is water cooler territory. As a speaker , it is great fodder for illustrations. The information that may seem random at first gives a variety of people common ground upon which to stand and converse.

At the end of it all, infographics are a well-designed bit of trivia. It is often random and periodically timely. They provide a new take on the news and an interesting way to engage information. Whether you use them as a distraction in a busy day or as a method of disseminating information, infographics are engaging form of communication that we can use to our advantage as leaders.

Wing pattern infographic

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