Sermon outlines and PowerPoint? No thanks. Why give yourself another job to do?
I reckon 90% of the benefits can be gained by the preacher announcing their points and the listener who likes outlines/PowerPoint taking notes.
I know some people love preparing sermon outlines and powerpoint slides and find great comfort and encouragement from the thought that they will be a blessing to their hearers.
And I know some people really appreciate the slides and outlines their preachers give them… and sometimes people can’t manage note-taking. So It’s not as if you absolutely shouldn’t ever do it.
In fact there are certain complicated sermons where some slides or outline can be a great help.
However, I suspect there is also a certain amount of habit and preference muddled in here. The simplistic application of the findings of academic educational research that doesn’t actually require the use of these particular tools in this particular way. In fact, I have heard of other research into the use of PowerPoint slides that suggest they can subtract from effective learning. I’m not convinced that ‘the research’ is quite as monolithic and conclusive as it is sometimes presented anyway.
Furthermore, although, yes, people learn visually. But we need to remember that the whole church service, and the in-person act of preaching (especially when accompanied by appropriate gestures) can be a very visual experience actually. Visual Learning is not equivalent to PowerPoint Slides.
By all means, if you love doing your powerpoint deck, go ahead. If enough people in your church really benefit from it, then bless them with it. If it’s working for everybody: go for it!
But there are many times where I hear preachers stressing out about ‘getting their outlines in for the booklet’ or scrambling to ‘get the powerpoint deck ready for Sunday… and I wonder whether we could all give them a break. One less thing to do. And it wouldn’t be that much of a noticeable difference.