If you are like me you have realized the important role that a really great image can play in your worship gatherings. Sometimes the right picture can say things that words just can’t. On top of that as youth ministers our job often entails making t-shirts, designing web sites, making flyers, creating logos, and coming up with graphics for a new message series. But unless you are the rare youth minister who actually took something useful in college (like graphic design or chair rearranging 101) you probably don’t have a ton of experience or skill in this area.
That is why I spend lots of time trolling around the internet looking for ideas. I am good enough with Photoshop to take an idea and recreate it. I am good enough with Adobe Illustrator to take a file and add my own text. So I am always looking for new ways to get the art (that isn’t stealing.) If you spend any time looking for art you will stumble on www.istockphoto.com which has both pictures and illustrations, but it can get very expensive very fast. I have found 2 others that you might not know, but that are both great.
http://www.powerpointsermons.com/ — If you make slides for your messages then you MUST at least go and check out this site. It has hundreds of different ideas all grouped according to topic and searchable as well. The search engine is good enough so that if you can search for "making decisions" or "roads" and it will find what you need. The cost is very reasonable for a year ($199) and that includes unlimited downloads. When you consider the high quality of their work there is nothing else even close to that price on the net. Their best feature, however, is the blank slides that they offer. For every design with words they also offer a non-word version so you can add your own text. If they would add an option for downloading the original .psd files then I would pay double for the service, but that is a different story.
Is 199 too much for you? How about free? That’s right http://www.creativemyk.com/ is a free site offering an exchange of ideas and graphics specifically for the church community, and you can download images without even setting up an account. It is has a handful of really great designs and a more than enough decent ones to keep you filled with ideas for a while. I just started looking at this site, but already I have download many of them for later use.