Lyrics: Do They Speak For You?

Many times when dealing with volunteers, I see a neglect for attention to details, especially as it relates to projecting lyrics during worship.  This is no fault of the volunteers, but more to do with the training that these volunteers have received.  Without proper instructions, it is hard for volunteers to be successful.

Why is this so important?

Because the projection of these lyrics aides in teaching the doctrines and theology of what our congregations are singing. If it is used correctly, we can sing and worship, edify and teach, all at the same time.

Do we have to project lyrics?

Certainly not, but it doesn’t appear that this trend in worship is not going away quickly. I have seen it used in the most modern of new worship spaces with three large connected screens (spanning the size of a small passenger plane) and equally used in smaller rural churches with distinct “traditional” charm (including pews and stained glass windows). So, why not embrace it and leverage this technology to enhance worship in your church?


Demonstration using a common background for worship lyrics (lens flare backgrounds are trendy and in use in lots of environments. We will use this as our basic back ground and make adjustments along the way:



EXAMPLE 1 (see below):

There are 3 main mistakes with this example, and one smaller mistake (based more on taste and desire from the writer). First, there is an idea that light colored backgrounds have to have darker text–this is sometimes true, but I have found that projected lyrics appear more clear when using “white” text since projectors naturally project light that is most consistently “white.” Second, the text contains serif which distracts from the legibility of the lyrics. A sans serif font would be more appropriate. Third, the text contains punctuation. While writing a formal letter or book, punctuation is required, but when projecting lyrics on a screen punctuation muddies the final outcome. Finally, it is my belief that two lines of text are always enough–it allows for bigger/bolder fonts, and the human brain can fully grasp most of the lyrics at one time.

flawed 1

EXAMPLE 2 (see below):

It is easy to see that with a few simple adjustments, the text on the screen is already more legible.  Remember this is very important, because through worship music we are teaching doctrine and theology and we want the people of our church to grasp it. The simple adjustments from example 1 were made and the only addition was to add a “drop shadow” to the text. However, to the writer, it is not acceptable yet because of the lightness of the background. You can see that “Amazing grace how” “and “saved a” are still getting lost on the screen because of the near “whiteness” on the background. We will show two ways to fix this in example 3 and example 4.


EXAMPLE 3 (see below):

By using a simple black box behind the text with the opacity set at 35-40%, we are able to accomplish more clarity of the lyrics while still maintaining the full presentation of the background image. It will also allow us to center the remaining text of the song in the same place on the screen since we are now only using 2 lines of text per slide. If this “stripe” is not attractive to you, we will see a final solution in example 4.


EXAMPLE 4 (see below):

In this example, we have removed the “box” behind the text, and instead adjusted the exposure of the original background image. All the while have maintained the colors to match the original. With a simple exposure change, we are not losing the integrity of the background, but we have provided clarity for the congregants that will be singing these great lyrics.



When projecting lyrics and setting up words for worship songs, take the time to do it right because you never want it to be a distraction. You will be rewarded for the time you spend in preparation, much like a pastor who delivers a great sermon does so by preparing before he steps up on the platform to preach.


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