The first two parts of this series covered the theoretical and the technical—the whys and whats—of media ministry. This final installment looks at the practical. The questions have all been answered, the design has been done, the equipment has been installed. Now, how in the world do we use this stuff?
Let’s take it step by step, starting with music. The good news is that projection systems have made the chore of getting words on a screen much less work. The bad news is that it is still work. The computer has become a part of the worship service and song lyrics should be rehearsed with the same dedication shown by the worship team. Once, at a conference, I broke a cardinal rule of presenting. I agreed to run a program that I had not created, for a group I had not rehearsed with. I did this to help a friend, but it ended up as more of a hindrance than a help. The songs were mistyped, in the wrong order, and I didn’t even know some of them.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. Someone once put it this way, “An amateur practices until he gets it right, a professional practices until he can’t do it wrong.” What I should have done is worked through the songs while they were rehearsing them, making notes of odd transitions and fixing the problems as they arose—before anyone saw them.
Looking at the system from the point of view of the pastor is somewhat different. For hundreds of years, ministers prepared messages by studying scripture, poring over commentaries, and searching for the right illustrations or stories that make a point. Now the pastor must also approach each topic from a visual standpoint. How do we do that? Are you ready?
Go into your living room, sit down and…turn on the television! Sound good? Don’t break out the popcorn just yet, this is still work. Keep a notepad next to your favorite easy chair and keep your finger on the record button of your DVR. Watch for things that will help you communicate a point: a news story on farming to illustrate a point on witnessing, a commercial for a credit card company to show how material our society is, a clip from a movie with a very profound statement.
What else can help communicate your message? A computer slide presentation can be very effective in helping the audience to follow along, which increases their attention and retention. Be careful not to overdo it though; it is easy to go overboard. Use subtle graphics, and always ask why. Why am I including this image? It may be just for fun to loosen things up, but ask the question anyway. In the end the message will have more impact and will be more effective at bringing people closer to the Lord throughout the week, and that is what it’s all about.
There are many other uses for a multimedia projection system in the church service: announcements for the congregation, a video of a missionary in the field, a Veggie Tales video for Vacation Bible School. Many pastors have begun teaching points of their sermon in illustrative settings and showing the video during the sermon. Creative uses of multimedia can enhance the worship experience, improve stewardship among the Lord’s people, increase attendance and promote a more informed congregation. The list goes on and on.
The ultimate principal goes back to Jesus himself, when he stood in front of the crowd and said, “A sower went out to sow some seed…” He gave a mental image with which every person in the audience could identify. He also gave us a mandate, as Paul said: “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”
The end of this series is an open door to an endless path. One of the main purposes of this blog is to share ideas from churches that use media to advance the Kingdom. What’s working for you? What would you like to know? Join the conversation, and keep stopping by for more.
Tue, July 13, 2010
by mmaxwell filed under