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Prezi Can Be Stunning
By Roy Ice

If you’re looking for a way to spice things up a bit from the same old PowerPoint slides, or if you’d like to present your worship graphics in a more linear way, you might give Prezi a try.

Prezi, much like PowerPoint and Apple’s Keynote, is a computer-based presentation program that works on PC, Mac, iPhone and iPad. It differs from the other presentation software options because, instead of being slide-based, Prezi uses one large canvas where all of your text, graphics, and even videos are placed. This can be really helpful when you need your audience to grasp concepts and how they are connected in a more visually spatial method.

For example, at the beginning of your sermon, the video screen displays the title of your sermon atop a photo or graphic background. Then, as you enter the topic, instead of changing slides, the “camera” zooms out, revealing three circles nestled around your title which contain the subheadings or major points to your talk. With the next click, the camera zooms over to your first circle until it fills the screen. As you continue talking, it zooms in even further, flying through the empty space of one of the subheading’s letters and reveals a block of text, Scripture, a photo, or a video clip. From there, it might zoom in, out, pan to the side, or even barrel roll to another part of the canvas and reveal more material. You decide.

One important word of advice: Unless you have some airsick bags tucked behind the tithe envelopes in the pew racks, don’t put too many barrel rolls back-to-back in your presentations. It really does have quite an affect on most people.

PROS: First of all, Prezi can be quite visually stunning and hold the attention of your congregation throughout your sermon. Yes, even the teens. Secondly, because Prezi’s file format works on both PC and Mac, you can save your file on a USB thumb drive and use it anywhere you speak, regardless of the computer programs each venue uses. Third, it is quite affordable. If you are a teacher or a student with an .edu email account, you can use the full program, including 500 MB of cloud storage, for free. There are two paid level accounts (“Enjoy” level $4.92/mo. and “Pro” level $13.25/mo.), but most people would do just fine with a free “Public” account that comes with 100 MB of cloud storage. Once you create your Prezi online and download it to your computer, you don’t really need to store it on their servers anyway. Lastly, because your information is built on one canvas, you can also click anywhere you wish to go on demand. This is great for discussion groups who wish to go to certain portions of your material during Q&A.

CONS: First, there’s a slight learning curve, but a few minutes with their online video tutorials will have you building your first Prezi in no time. Secondly, unless you wish to give verbal cues to the person in the video booth, you will need to use an iPhone, iPad, or a Bluetooth keyboard to advance your Prezi, if you are not within reach of the computer connected to the video projector. In this setup you must use an app like MobileMouse which allows you to have access to the arrow keyboard keys and a track pad. Before you can present, you must sync this app with the computer you will be using.

All this said, Prezi still provides a great new way of creating memorable presentations that will help your congregation remember what you talked about.
Roy Ice is the Executive Pastor of the Napa Community SDA Church in Napa, CA.