Multimedia Use in Church
From football to the olympics,
from home and garden to cooking how-to’s,
from movies to shopping from home,
from concerts to catastrophes, and
from news, weather and sports, to nothing-much-on channel surfing,
It’s a given. Video images, complete with sound, are part of our daily lives.
We watch the news, then catch streaming weather, traffic and sports information on our way out the door. We check in again from our cell-phones when we’re away. “What’s it doing now? Let me see.”
We laugh at coffee-breaks when we tell about a favorite commercial we’ve seen. We talk about the movies we’ve seen and compare perspectives or share best moments.
At work, teams study images on screens, an agenda, spreadsheet or PowerPoint image, in lieu of (or in addition to) printed copies for everyone. After the meeting, presentations and notes can be emailed to all, even those who missed the meeting.
Screens and thumbs work together, pushing a skill and chance to a favorite video game’s limits — to the very edge, without tripping the dreaded “GAME OVER” screen.
Toddlers watch small-screen images from their car seats while Mom totes older siblings to and from soccer and baseball — and school.
I remember a when our family visited Cornerstone University several years ago, prior to our son enrolling there. Part of our orientation included visiting an Introduction to Philosophy lecture. The professor’s notes were projected from overhead to the screen behind him. His class had his outline, having downloaded his notes to their notebooks from the campus blackboard. Mid-lecture, a student in front of me jumped to the internet (the campus is Wi-Fi) to learn more about someone the professor mentioned in answer to a question. In 30-seconds or so he found a short bio and photograph. I watched as he silently copied and pasted it into his notes, closed his browser and turned his focus back to the lectern. I was impressed. I would have scribbled a note: “Find out more about so and so.” Today’s technology puts the world at our fingertips.
And it’s coming to a church near you – maybe yours. When tastefully and skillfully utilized, projected images bring life to content and setting. When done poorly – well you’ve been there a time or two, so have I.
Is multimedia something you should consider? Done well, technology can add significantly to your church’s ministry! Done poorly… well, never-mind. You don’t want to do it poorly.
With computer and projector available at church, here’s some of what you can do!
- Sermon notes, maps and illustrations
- Scripture for public reading, or to follow along in the message
- Video clips or pictures from youth trips and camps
- Missionary updates from those you support, short term mission trip updates and report-backs
- Congratulations moments for weddings, baby dedications, confirmations, graduations, significant anniversaries
- Appreciation events for ministries and people in your local fellowship, parish, congregation.
- Announcements about church activities (often presented in a scrolling loop before services)
- Enjoy pictures of recent church events.
- Video clips to illustrate a point
- Images or scenes with Scripture for silent prayer or meditation at quiet moments in the service.
- Seasonal backgrounds for special days of the year
- Photographs by people in your congregation as backgrounds (These are some of my favorites)
- I-Mag (image magnification) in larger venues or to broadcast via close-circuit TV to overflow venues, can see your speaker’s face better
- Teacher’s main points in the classroom
- Lyrics projected for group singing, using different styles and techniques for different age-groups
- Pop-quiz or quick review at end of class
- Maps and illustrations in Christian Education
- Step by step instructions in training
- How-to and How-NOT-to examples (ex: teaching methods, evangelism, counseling)
- Spreadsheets for budgeting, reporting, planning – entire committee can see changes and updates, along with their results
- Time-use and charting for planning purposes
- Humorous clips and photos for ministry team, staff and volunteer morale
- Seasonal and patriotic productions or emphases.
….Get the idea? If it’s more than you think you’ll ever need, start with what you know you CAN do and you can grow from there.
Choose your equipment carefully so it matches the characteristics of your room — or rooms if yours will be a portable unit — and make sure you don’t cut corners. (You’ll regret it later).
Encourage your multimedia team to always share what they’ve just learned with others on the team. Those who already know it can celebrate that another has grasped a new technique, those who haven’t caught that technique will be encouraged to keep learning and growing. There’s nothing worse than feeling alone when you’re new at something, especially with the entire congregation looking on! But there’s quiet confidence in knowing you’ve been trained and are doing this right.
It’s a great adventure – enjoy!