• Phil Wright

The 5 Most Common Mistakes Worship Lyrics Presenters Make



There’s more to running lyrics on a Sunday morning than slapping some lyrics on top of a cool worship background. As with many of the technical arts roles in the modern church, you kinda want to be invisible—which means if people don’t notice what you did, you probably did a good job. Here are five ways to get noticed (again, not what you want).



#1.

FONT LEGIBILITY


We’ve seen a lot of churches get really creative with the fonts they use on top of their worship backgrounds, and we love it! But you should never sacrifice legibility in the name of creativity.

Using a small font size and minimal text can yield a clean, modern feel, but don’t get carried away with it. Remember: it should be easily legible from the back of the room. (To be honest, just as many churches choose a font size that’s too big.)



PROBLEM:

Font size is too small.

Worship Background: Fireflies – Hillside

Font: Gotham (Book)



SOLUTION:

Increase font size & choose bolder font.

Worship Background: Fireflies – Hillside

Font: Gotham (Bold)



Another popular method to infuse creativity on top of your worship backgrounds is to use a script/brush/handwritten font. But with these type of fonts, legibility is a common problem. Sometimes the choice not to go with a certain font can come down to the fact that a single letter makes it difficult to read.


Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who isn’t familiar with the lyrics of the song, and when in doubt, err on the side of legibility.



PROBLEM:

The font has personality, but it’s hard to read.

Worship Background:Infinity – Space

Font: Snap Dragon



SOLUTION:

Choose an easier-to-read font.

Worship Background: Infinity – Space

Font: Playlist





#2.

BAD TIMING


Perhaps the most distracting thing you can do as a worship lyric presenter is to let your lyric slide changes lag behind the actual singing of the lyrics.


There are three big factors that play into when you should change to the next slide:


  1. The Cadence of the Lyrics – Songs with a faster cadence might require that you change slides a little earlier (Note that I didn’t say the speed of the song—a lot of hymns could be classified as slower songs, but have a faster lyric cadence).

  2. The Amount of Lyrics Per Slide – If, for emphasis, perhaps you’re only including a couple of lyrics on a certain slide, you might need to delay your transition a little bit. If for some reason you’re putting a lot of lyrics on a single slide (see below for why you want to avoid this), you might want to give people a little bit longer to find the beginning of the next slide, so you’ll need to transition earlier.

  3. Transition Animations – Many people like to use their presentation software to add a fade or some other transition animation to the lyrics between slides. If that’s you, you’ll need to switch slides earlier. You want the animation to end where it would if you were using a hard cut, so you’ll need to trigger it earlier.


In most cases, you probably want to give people about a second and a half of time on the slide before they start singing, but you also don’t want to change away from the previous slide too soon. Your best bet, if you don’t already, is to rehearse at the same time your band rehearses, and make notes as you go along.





#3.

POOR TEXT ARRANGEMENT


It may seem more efficient to cram a bunch of words onto every slide, and it probably is—for you. Or maybe you’re building out the slides, and you don’t trust your presenter to have good timing. You figure, fewer slides = fewer opportunities for bad/missed timing.


The major problem with over-stuffing lyrics onto your worship backgrounds is that it makes it harder to read and follow along and easier to get lost. Try to keep it to two, maybe three lines.



PROBLEM:

TOO MANY LYRICS.

Worship Background:Holy Smokes – Pink

Font: Futura (Medium Italic)




SOLUTION:

Break it into 2 or more slides.

Worship Background:Holy Smokes – Pink

Font: Futura (Medium Italic)



Another arrangement problem that some people struggle with is knowing when to add line breaks. Your layout will translate into singing better if you know how to break up lines of text. Punctuation marks give good clues as to when a line break should be. (You may not use punctuation; we’ll address that below.) The key here is to not break phrases up.


PROBLEM:

Awkward line breaks.

Worship Background:Infinite Horizons – Earth

Font: Milano Sky



SOLUTION:

Keep phrases together; break where punctuation would be.

Worship Background: Infinite Horizons – Earth

Font: Milano Sky



#4.

BAD GRAMMAR


*** Controversial Opinion Warning ***
Proper grammar doesn’t matter as much as consistent grammar in the lyrics presentation context.

First, let’s talk punctuation. You might be the type of person who’s twitching and uncomfortable right now because none of the above slides included punctuation. Actually, if that’s you, you may have stopped reading this article a long time ago.


To put it simply, different people might have different ideas about what correct punctuation for a song is, and even correct punctuation can add a level of awkwardness to your lyric slide design.


My personal preference is to go without punctuation, and rely on line breaks (and the song’s melody) to add pauses and emphasis instead.




PROBLEM:

Punctuation from Google’s #1 “Amazing Grace Lyrics” result.

Worship Background: Burning Bokeh – Green Font: Bebas Neue (Drop Shadow Added)

SOLUTION:

Rely on the melody & line breaks instead of punctuation.

Worship Background:Burning Bokeh – Green

Font: Bebas Neue (Drop Shadow Added)



Second, let’s look at capitalization. There are definitely rules for which letters should be capitalized (proper names; pronouns for God; first letter of every line of a poem/song; etc), but there’s also some opinion at play here (for example, words that reference God, but aren’t proper names, like “grace”).


What’s important is to decide which rules you’re going to follow and then stick to it.


I’m personally a fan of a bold, sans-serif font in all caps, so you don’t even have to worry about capitalization.


OPTION 1:

Lower case following certain capitalization rules.

Worship Background:Deep Circles – Orange

Font: Brandon Grotesque (Medium) (Drop Shadow Added)



OPTION 2:

All caps! Easier to read, and you’re not breaking any rules.

Worship Background:Deep Circles – Orange

Font: Brandon Grotesque (Medium) (Drop Shadow Added)


Third, CHECK YOUR SPELLING. I see typos in lyrics way too often.



#5.

UNNECESSARY TEXT


You might chalk this up to personal preference, but including repeated lines on your slides is just … well … unnecessary.



PROBLEM:

Lines repeated multiple times.

Worship Background:Landscape Rays – Diamond

Font: Neutra Display Bold




SOLUTION:

Put the repeated line on its own slide, and move the rest to another slide.


Worship Background:Landscape Rays – Diamond

Font: Neutra Display Bold


Likewise, certain melodic vocalizations are just not needed. Feel free to leave them out.




PROBLEM:

People don’t need this.

Worship Background:Neon Streaks – Pink

Font: Montserrat (Bold)



SOLUTION:

Leave ’em off.

Worship Background:Neon Streaks – Pink

Font: Montserrat (Bold)



FINAL THOUGHTS

What do you think? Do you have pet peeves that you see repeated or things you’ve learned not to do along the way? Or maybe you disagree with something we said here. Let us know what you think in the comments below.



Just getting started presenting worship lyrics? You’re going to need some backgrounds to go with them. Explore almost 8,000 still and motion worship backgrounds here. While you’re at it, check out our membership options and join thousands of other churches who rely on Igniter to help with their creative media needs. Explore our memberships!

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