In an issue of Leadership, pastor Leith Anderson observes, “(T)he introduction of the experiential into evangelical preaching has been a significant factor. Preaching is not just someone talking, but it’s providing sight and sound and experience. This is done in different ways at different levels in different churches. But the introduction of PowerPoint added a visual aspect for a while, perhaps less so now. We see the use of video clips and other visuals, and increasingly in many churches that reach a younger generation, participation through various exercises and activities that are connected to preaching.
“PowerPoint has been largely a Baby Boomer phenomenon. Younger adults wonder about the validity and credibility of anything perceived to be canned. Authenticity is a critical aspect, especially with younger adults, in the preaching experience. It doesn’t seem authentic that a speech is all written out and words appear on the screen at exactly the same time. So PowerPoint is less used with younger adults and becoming more a characteristic of an older generation.
“It’s a delicate balance here, because to be authentic, things can’t come across as too scripted. Yet, a certain amount of scripting is necessary in order to use technology. For example, one of the things we’re working with at Wooddale Church is encouraging young adults to use their cell phones to text message questions about the sermon and have those questions appear on the screen. That’s participation, that’s technology, but it’s not prepared questions in advance in a PowerPoint that shows up at exactly the right time. So it’s high tech, but it’s participatory, not scripted.” (Leadership, Summer 2007)