Contrary Sermon Series

Last year, I preached a series of lessons at the Tompkinsville Church of Christ centered around the phrase, “Contrary to Popular Belief.” I listened to a couple of sermons from the Round Rock Church of Christ on the topic (to listen follow this link) and fell in love with the idea. I knew I wanted the lessons to be engaging and somewhat controversial (only in the sense that it challenged incorrect status quos). The topics ended up being about God, Satan, and the afterlife. You can listen to the sermons I presented by following this link. When it came to the design process, I knew I wanted something simple, yet bold. Something that would catch the attention of the audience without requiring a deep dive into the meaning. I ended up settling on a picture of a woman in glasses that seemed quite introspective. It seemed to reflect someone deep in thought and perfectly encapsulated what I was wanting from the audience. 

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I’m of the opinion that real-life pictures are vastly underappreciated in our presentations. A friendly face or familiar scene often bring about an unanticipated connection between our presentation and the audience. I was hoping this picture would help connect the listeners to several ideas I wanted to get across in these lessons. After some searching, I found the photo above on Unsplash. The photo was taken by Jamie Brown (his website) and is available for free download.

While it is perfectly fine, I felt it needed something, so I added a light purple filter and softened the look of the photo. That element is key when we look to add text. The softening of the picture with a little extra color and another level of light allows the text to pop off the background.  

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When it came to the text, due to the business of the background, I knew something simple and blocky would work best. If I had titled this sermon series “Contrary” instead of “Contrary to Popular Belief,” I may have been able to use a script or handwritten font. While I often believe less is more, this sermon series required a full embrace of the phrase for our title slide. The font I settled on was Bebas Neue and it can be downloaded at Dafont for free. 

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Stacking the font vertically on the left hand size with a large size but small space between the words seemed to represent the best choice. As I went about planning the design of the presentation, I knew I wanted to carry something distinctive into the text. I decided to highlight one word on each slide. That word was to represent what I wanted the audience to remember most. These lessons were all about rejecting commonly-missheld conceptions, so “popular” stuck out the most on the title slide. For the content slides, I shrunk the size of the font  but kept the left-hand stacked alignment. I continued highlighting a specific word and this is the simple, but effective result. 

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In the end, I was very pleased with the look of this sermon series. It wasn’t overly designed and doesn’t require much thought to gets its connection to the content. It ended up being rather simple but got my message across. While each lesson contained just a few slides that drove home the key ideas I truly believe the imagery helped support them. 

About The Merger

The Merger began when Neal Mathis and Matthew Higginbotham sat down to write together. Since then, it's blossomed into so much more. The Merger is meant to be a place where faith and life meet. In these stories, we hope you'll find deep theological value right alongside life-changing practical advice.

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