Mike Sheley

Crafting Creative Presentations

by on in Experience.

You didn’t really think a blog post about creative presentations would be plain old boring text, did you?

I’ve got some thoughts to share on crafting creative presentations, but I thought I’d also show you one of the tools I use during some of my live talks: Haiku Deck. You can follow along with the slides as you read, and be sure to check out the website if you’re looking for a tool to help you make your presentations more engaging.

You can feel the tension in the air as technophiles hang on every word of an Apple keynote presentation… hoping it will end with those wonder-filled words: “one more thing.”

Children of all ages purchase tickets and flood theaters to experience the annual animated magic known as a Pixar film.

Whether you pay big bucks to experience them live or simply log on and view from your desktop or mobile device, TED talks present, in their words, “ideas worth sharing.”

Each of these are examples of engaging presentations. In middle school ministry, we need to be refining our message to be as effective as possible at helping students meet and follow Jesus.  A key piece in that is our presentations.

I will admit at the risk of turning you away due to my geek-factor, that presentations are a hobby for me. But they are a hobby that have helped me so much in my ministry with preteens and middle schoolers that I knew I needed to share my observations, thoughts, findings, resources and even questions with you.

Think about it. People criticize sermons or lessons that go longer than 20 minutes. Yet those same people praise a two-hour keynote presentation by Apple.

Critics of youth ministry complain that we entertain kids too much. And then they sit for two hours with their kids watching a Pixar film in the theater before watching it on an endless loop at home later.  

Sometimes we are our own biggest critics and start to believe the lie that learning isn’t fun and we need to do more games and less teaching to keep students, especially ten to fourteen year-olds, engaged. And then we click on a link and are drawn in to an education from ideas presented in a TED talk.

The core of what we present to students is the Bible. As far as content is concerned, that can’t be topped. We may add side-dishes of personal illustrations or examples from popular culture. But the main dish will always be the Word of God.

However, I have learned from the culinary arts that presentation can make or break a dish. The same is true for us. Presentation can make or break a key component of our ministry with students.  

I invite you to join me as we learn from the masters of the art of presentation. As I share some thoughts here on Uthmin.net, study with me as we take notes on key concepts, philosophies and rules in creating and delivering captivating presentations. Wrestle with some of the thoughts that challenge what I’ve “always done” in over a decade of ministry. Explore with me new resources, companies and people helping to shape presentations now and for years to come.

And always keep in the back of your mind this truth. Apple has a team of great people working tirelessly to deliver two or three keynote presentations per year. Pixar has an incredibly gifted variety of individuals and technology working for years to deliver one two-hour movie. And people go to great lengths, even hiring presentation creating companies, to help them prepare for a TED talk.

We have less than a week to get ready for our next presentation. We need to get going…

What are some creative presentation methods you’ve used for your middle schoolers? Let’s share some ideas!

  • John Pae

    Sometimes I use poll everywhere to interact with kids. This keeps them on track with the one idea that I am trying to get across. Also, after the worship, I record a 2-3 mins recap with “Touch Cast”, which is an another interactive video recording app that everyone can try.