What If?: Powerpoint Failure

What If? This series looks at real world situations that come up in worship leading. They may not happen often, but they happen often enough to talk about and plan ahead for. This week we’ll talk about overhead projection failure.


No matter how much planning or preparation or redundant systems we put in place, technical failure is a fact of life. It will happen at some point. The key is to acknowledge, accept it, and move on. Whether its Powerpoint, Pro Presenter, Song Show, Song Select, or Microsoft Word (I know a church that used it, true story). If you fail to come to this conclusion, then you will fail to plan for the “what ifs’ that come with overhead projection.


The worst thing you can do is freak out. Yeah, the overhead isn’t working, but now what. That’s just the way it’s going today. Maybe you’ll have to change your setlist. Maybe you’ll have to do things a little different this one time. Blessed are the flexible for they will not be broken.


If you’re prepared and flexible then you’ll be able to act. In American Football, when the Quaterback comes up to call the play, if he sees the defense lined up in a way that he doesn’t like, he can call an “audible” which is a play that every knows ahead of time.

Some churches still have hymnals, and they have a pre selected song list to go to for moments like these. Not what I would do, but a valid option.

Some churches would do the same thing but with the old style acetate sheets and an old school analog overhead projector. Again, a vaild option, but why any church hasn’t sold this at a garage sale yet is beyond me.

Some churches would pause the song worship time until after the message if they think they can get it fixed. The viablitly of this option is highly situational and would depend a lot on your equipment and tech team.

The play I would be most inclined to go with would be to scrap the set list. I’d tell the band to just follow along, of just not play (they can even go find a seat) and I would lead songs that are well known (we’re in Amazing Grace territory) and audible to a very simple and low key time of worship. Just because this is my inclination doesn’t make it the best or most viable option, just the one that makes the most sense to me.


This is why you have to plan ahead and talk it out with Leadership. What’s best in your specific church, what’s best for your specific skill set, or the skill sets of others (the band, the tech team, etc). Talking about the “What Ifs” ahead of time will save you a lot of trouble when they become realities.

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