Sunday, January 15, 2006

Multimedia Is New Way to Relay Old Lessons - Los Angeles Times

Multimedia Is New Way to Relay Old Lessons - Los Angeles Times:
"Retired college professor Grace Christensen of Rancho Santa Margarita grew up singing old hymns and reading from the Bible during Sunday worship.

But now she and other congregants of the 400-member Santa Margarita United Methodist Church in Orange County seldom use Bibles or church hymnals during worship service.

Instead, modern technology enables her to participate by watching two big screens where the texts appear in large letters. A crew manning an audiovisual booth in the back of the sanctuary modulates the sound system so that she can hear and see well no matter where she sits, she said...."

Another example of how churches embrace technology...

I should note that some friends of ours went to Australia for a sabbatical about 8 years ago, and described how words to hymns were projected on a screen during services, using overhead transparencies. but even so, the concept is not exactly new. Digital projectors are now down in the $700.00 ballpark, and they can do the job far more efficiently.

There is power in using visual images, music, and words together in an integrated package. MTV, Super Bowl half-time shows, TV advertising are all ways in which imagery can be used to entertain -- or to manipulate. Political advertising and propaganda are generally negative examples of the latter. Visual imagery can also be used to instruct. It is hard to imagine professional meetings that do not rely on PowerPoint in their sessions.

Why not churches? It certainly seems to be a staple in young, growing, congregations. And not to put too fine a point on it, but if congregations are to grow, or even maintain their numbers, they will need to attract youth.

The computer professional in me says "Go for it! You'll not regret it."

The more cautious person in me says "Use it carefully and wisely."


Quotidian Grace said...

We use projections in both our contemporary and traditional services. I do like having the words to the hymns projected so the congregation is looking up at them rather than down at a book while singing.

I find it frustrating not to have the music available (since I read music) when the praise song is unfamiliar, which is frequently. When a hymn is unfamiliar, I can use a hymnal which we keep in the pews.

As with anything mechanical, there are sometimes some bad glitches in the system that distract from worship. But we're learning!

Denis Hancock said...

There is a church in my community which is highly successful in attracting youth to their services. Along with the ministerial staff and adminsistrative staff, there is a technical staff to operate the mixing boards, create the podcasts, maintain the web site, and so forth. All volunteer, as far as I know.