|The Overhead Projector|
Many people find doing the overhead projector a boring duty, like washing the dishes or packing up after the service. Yet overheads can be fun, and when done properly, they can really make a difference it all depends on your point of view. You can use the OHP as a tool to bless others and minister to them, or it can just be a chore.by Donn Edwards
It was several years ago when I was first asked to drive the overhead projector. It was simple enough to learn, and once I figured out how to adjust the position of the transparencies, it was easy. I discovered that the OHP is an important part of worship, albeit completely under-rated. The only time you realize the importance of the OHP is when something goes wrong. You can completely destroy the mood of worship by displaying the wrong words, or by doing it badly. So make sure you get the technicalities right and you will bless the worship leader.
Along with the sound system, the OHP is one of the few means that a non-musician can use to enhance worship, and draw others into worship. The fact that it is completely under-rated is good, because it keeps glamour-seekers out of the way. When you are working with the worship team, making sure the correct words are visible at the right time, you are helping draw people into worship, particularly those who are having a hard time. People who are in worship mode, and who know the words, will just close their eyes, lift their hands and sing. Those who dont know the words try to follow them on the screen. If this is easy for them to do, they will be drawn into worship far more easily than if the words keep jumping around, or arent visible. Get the timing right and you will bless the congregation.
I listen to a lot of Vineyard music, so it is easy for me to get into worship mode on a Sunday morning. Usually within a few bars I have already forgotten about everything else except the song being sung and the presence of the Lord. On several occasions people have told me afterwards that they could enter into worship more easily because they saw me already worshipping. Similarly members of the worship team have been encouraged to see that at least one person was able to worship when they played. It encourages the team, and they do better. Do the OHP with the right attitude, and others may even bless you.
I have often seen others driving the OHP but looking thoroughly bored. I weep for them, because they are missing out on the privilege of ministering to the congregation. They look flustered when the worship leader starts singing a song out of sequence, or a different song. Yet, for me, this is an indication that the worship leader is following the leading of the Holy Spirit, and that the worship is not a mechanical reproduction of songs without any further thought.
Of course, you need to be prepared for these spontaneous changes: ask your worship leader to tell you in advance of any songs that he may have in mind as possibilities. Also, make sure you organize the transparencies alphabetically by opening line of song, and not by song title. Then all you need to do is listen to the first few words of the first line in order to know what song is being sung. I often ask the Holy Spirit to tell me what songs He is planning, and so when the worship leader starts playing those songs it is a great thrill for me to know we are both in tune with what the Holy Spirit is saying. I also try to see if I can beat the intro by finding the song and having it up on the screen by the end of the opening line, or even by the end of the intro! It adds a bit of challenge and excitement, and you get the satisfaction of a job well done.
It is important to work with the worship team: watch the worship leader, particularly during song changes, to see what he wants to do. He has to signal to other members of the band, so watch for those signals and follow them. Anticipate changes too: if there is a possibility of going back to the top of the song after the chorus, be ready. It makes for a quicker change on the screen, and you dont look like youre asleep on the job.
Your most important duty, though, is not to change slides or adjust the focus: your most important duty is to follow the words on the screen. If you can read the words, then so can everyone else. Dont feel intimidated and self-conscious: if youre doing your job properly no one is looking at you. People only generally look at you when youre not paying attention. I have on occasion been so lost in worship that I forgot to move the transparency to the next verse. Fortunately there are a few friends near the front who will wake me up before I make a spectacle of myself. Being lost in worship may be a legitimate excuse, but being bored and looking out of the window is not!
One of the reasons I enjoy overhead duty is that there is more space to dance. I find most pews too restrictive (sardine class), especially during songs that encourage more enthusiastic praise. There is plenty of space next to the OHP, and so I can party away quietly, confident in the knowledge that no one is paying any attention to me, because they are looking straight past me at the words on the screen. My favorite song is Hallelujah Glory, partly because all the words fit on the screen at one time, so I can move to one side and cavort around without anyone noticing.
Another aspect that makes the OHP fun is the close proximity to the worship team: not only is it easier to follow them, but the music is louder, which appeals to the party animal in me.
When teaching newcomers how to drive the OHP, this is what I tell them:
Finally, doing the OHP is a bit like being the waiters at the wedding that Jesus attended: you get to see the water before it turns to wine, and you share in the miracle. You don even need to know the first thing about wine.
Copyright © 1998 Donn Edwards is a member of the Valley Vineyard worship team.
Information on this page last updated 14/11/1998 All information provided on this page is copyright
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