No Canned Music to Media Explosion
I remember growing up, there were several churches I attended that swore there would never be ‘canned music’ in their worship services. That meant no cassette tape accompaniment tracks – or later, CD – and now, digital. They swore only live orchestra or piano. Now, I love live music, and throw in some strings – it really gets my heart aflutter. But I don’t know any church that doesn’t use some type of digital or background media now.
And media has exploded – screens, more screens, wall projections, TV monitors, and more. When dealing with music, this includes lyrics, background videos, official lyric videos, CCLI and copyright information, and so on. Also – video announcements, countdown tracks, sermon series intros, and so on. Now we find baptismal candidate testimonies, new member pictures, and missionary/ministry telling their stories. We also find sermon illustrations, promos, and so on and so on. Then we throw in streaming sermons to multiple campuses, to home computers/Apple TV/Roku/etc., to mobile devices.
Who knows what is next? Scratch-N-Sniff bulletins?
Has it Gotten Too Big?
Has media gotten too big for our worship? Should we just get back to simplistic worship. Media can be divisive – and God desires unity, So where do we draw the line to not be divisive?
Robert Morris tells the story of an older member wished he would preach live at every service. He asked why, and she said so she could see hum directly. He asked her, when he does preach live, does she look at him or the screen. She said the screen, for she loved to see his smile, emotions, and other facial expressions. To which he said then why does it matter if he’s live, for she doesn’t watch him anyway. She smiled and said that he was so wise.
I agree it is a comfort level – how much can the worship leader and the worshipers handle. But the biggest point is what glorifies God the most to get the message out. Does the video illustration add to worship? Does the video announcements help the worship flow without distraction? Do the baptismal testimonies help the church family celebrate the individual decisions, not just the ordinance?
I think lyrics on the screen help people sing better – they are looking upwards (not burying their face in a hymnal), and they can be engaged in more corporate way. I realize parts/notes gets lost – but who reads music anymore? Also, being a bit older, I like the larger words on screens over the teeny tiny words in a book. And The Village Church integrates Scripture on the screen during bridges, between verses, etc.
I love churches that have notes to the message available online at the time of worship – helps with note taking and keeps people engaged – as well as helps in the weeks that follows.
So Here Are My Thoughts on Some Reasons Media Can Be Effective
- We live in a media centered world, so the church should use all things to reach all people, as long as it always glorifies God
- Media is a great way to integrate the arts
- Media is remembered longer
- Media can be shared online, as a follow up from the worship
- Media is very easy to share with other people outside of the church
- Streaming Sermons can keep multi-campuses unified (this is good and bad, but more later)
- Media is a consistent way to bridge multiple services and multiple campuses
- Media can help people worship that can’t make the physical service
- Media by larger churches can be shared with smaller churches which may not be able to afford higher quality media on their own (LifeChurch is the premier example for this)
- Media helps people to be better engaged in music
- Media helps the church family get better acquainted (sharing our stories)
- Media is multi-generational (don’t believe me, ask grandparents to see videos of their grand kids and see how excited they will get!)
These are just a few … I could go on, but I think you get it.
So, this weekend
So, this weekend – spend a little time to just realize how much media has been integrated into worship at your church. If there is something that was effective, let your worship leader know. If not everything floats your boat – realize God may have used to reach someone else that needed it. Remember worship is not about our whims, but what helps us all worship.
SO HELP ME …
Let me know in a message, for a comment, what media do you find helpful, effective, and you’re glad it is being used.