Monday, March 1, 2010

preaching and technology

One of the things we talked about at the recent sr. pastor's round table I attended was the use of technology during the preaching event on a given Sunday morning.

The first technology to hit the preaching profession was the P.A. system (microphones and speakers)...believe it or not that's a relatively new (in 2,000 year history of preaching) technology. I'm sure my voice would be shot if I had no microphone every week. It gets tired at the end of the second service now!

Of course, nearly all preachers use such technology as IMAG (image magnification - screens with my big face on it:-) to allow people to see facial expressions, etc... This technology can be helpful to make a big auditorium smaller and closer. In other words, someone in the balcony can connect like someone in the front row (it amazes me how some people in the second and third row look beyond me to look at me on the screen!). All in all, I think this enhances the preaching that I do. Some have taken this further and show a video or live feed of the sermon to another location. Or post the sermon to be seen on-line (like we do).

Some other technologies are making their move. Some congregations have people tweeting and texting questions during the sermon so that the pastor can respond in the middle of it all. Some set up computer areas for dialogue between pastor and congregants during the sermon. Several already use their phones/hand held device as their Bible - so someone may actually have their phone out and be following along.

Where do I land on all of this? Well, I'm sort of an old school guy. I like this event each week called preaching. I like the fact that there are very few places where people go and listen to someone speak for half an hour (or more:-) and that the church is one of them. I'm not a fan of sattelite because I think there is value of actually having the preacher in the room. (Just like a person you know on facebook from China is not the same as going to starbucks with a good friend in person - there is more to the relationship between pastor and congregation when the pastor is actually in the room where you are hearing the sermon). I also wonder how much listening to the word of God is missed when people are "chat" or "tweeting" or checking e-mails while their phones are out. You know, there is a time where we should stop tweeting and know that I am God.

So for now, I prefer the preaching to be a live, personal event where you can actually go hug the pastor (or talk to him anyway) when the whole thing's over. Again, technology is not a bad thing, there are many things we already use to enhance the message, but there is a point where "the medium becomes the message" and then of course, the eternal message of salvation is lost.


Anonymous said...

Excellent point!

Anonymous said...

Mike, I completely agree. I think technology is great, but there is a time, place and purpose for it. Tweets during sermons would surely drive me nuts! I am easily distracted though. And yes, nothing can ever quite compare to real human contact when it comes to forming relationships. I'll have to remember that when we're at CIY-Believe this weekend with all those jr highers!

Steve41602 said...

I agree with you on the live preacher (as opposed to a dead one?:-)) and personal interaction during worship rather than electronic interaction.

Until I read your blog this week I hadn't heard of anyone doing this, but then read this article about it:

Marty said...

I understand your point but what about the opportunity to reach more people for JESUS through multi-sites, campuses using today's technology. Churches like Lifechurch, Newspring, Bay Area Fellowship, Willow Creek are doing an amazing ministry through multi-site campuses. Just a thought, not a criticism because Eastview is an amazing church.

mchellek said...

I agree on the time and place for everything. But having a Q & A Sunday could be fun!

Lisa said...

I so agree with this. Mark and I attend a church here in Indy that on occasion will have the sermon on the screen and the pastor somewhere else. If I wanted to view a service on the screen, I would watch one on tv. Keep preaching in person and I will visit when I can!

Jack Corzine said...

Had to chuckle a bit on this one Mike. Been using a Bible app on my phone for years now and I love it because I don't get lost looking for a specific book, chapter and verse (I have a horrible memory for such things). I doubt if I would ever tweet a minister DURING his preaching though, might tweet him afterward though.

Love ya man,
Jack Corzine