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Make sure your picture is theologically correct.

The easy way to show a huge picture in church is to put it in a computer and project it onto a screen. This used to be quite a pricey business, but now it's possible to buy the equipment and hardware quite cheaply, and most churches have a nerd boy somewhere who will know how to transfer an image from a computer file or bit of paper to a PowerPoint slideshow.

The trouble with projected pictures is that they are now so familiar to most people that they don't grab anyone's attention any more. In the UK, children see pictures projected onto screens almost every day at school. So you have to do something a bit extra. One way is to show lots of pictures, but it's often far better to ditch the computer and use a bit of paper.


Rule number one for pictures on bits of paper: make them as large as possible. If your church has up to 100 people, the smallest size you should work with is A1 (594 x 841mm). Even this can look a bit titchy, and it's really best to use much bigger pieces of paper. With larger congregations, huge pictures are essential or the people at the back won't see them. When I used the picture of Rodnus Roman (on the full armour of God page) I made him about 2 metres tall.

Nerd boy
Nerd boy (found in most congregations).

Where do you get such large pieces of paper? Well, I'm a structural engineer and in the office we have big inkjet plotters for printing out our drawings. Once we bought a new plotter and the rolls we had used in the old plotter didn't fit so I picked up loads of paper that would otherwise have been thrown away; sometimes I just ask if I can have a few metres. If you know an engineer, or an architect, or someone who works for a printer, you could probably get hold of large bits of paper just as easily. A less satisfactory source is lining paper - available from DIY shops - but the rolls are only about 600mm wide and it's usually cream rather than white. It's cheap and it looks it.


The easiest way to draw a large picture is to start with a small one. Draw it on a bit of A4 and make sure it looks right. Hold it at arms length and consider it with sober judgement. Ask someone you trust what they think. When you have stopped arguing, grudgingly make any changes they suggest, scan the picture in to a computer, stick your big bit of paper on the wall and shine the picture onto it using a projector. Go over it in pencil, turn off the projector and check whether it still looks OK. Then, using a big fat marker pen and long flowing lines, ink over the pencil lines. If you use a thin pen nobody will see your picture, and if you use short lines it won't look good. Colour in the picture with poster paint if you wish. Remove the paper from the wall and replace the wallpaper because the marker pen has soaked through and won't come off. Resolve to stick a bit of polythene up first next time.

The really flash way to do this is to project the picture onto the paper as before, but trace the picture in secret and with a yellow coloured pencil. Then, when you're giving your talk, go over the yellow lines with your marker pen. Nobody in the congregation will be able to see the yellow marks, and they will all be hugely impressed. Only do this for one drawing though - the novelty wears off very quickly.


Desert island church by John Parker. Contact me via the about page. Text and images copyright © 2014 John Parker www.desertislandchurch.co.uk.