In a world where everything competes for our attention, everyone wants more tech gear, more lights, more haze, and a production that will draw in the masses. But when is too much tech too much? How do you walk the line of giving your very best in ministry without becoming gluttonous? Examining your buildings, your production, and your heart will help guide you to providing the best in your ministry without stepping over the line.
Church buildings are a reflection of mission. Too much and you may seem wasteful, too little and it might seem like you don’t care. The first step is making sure that what you do have is well kept and functioning properly. It is better to have something put away or turned off until it is working and looking as expected. Digital signage is a prime example of this. Technology needs to function correctly and have accurate information.
The purpose of church buildings is to give people a place to worship God as a community. Does your technology compliment the building decor? An LED video wall in front of an old pipe organ may reflect confusion in direction. Like it or not, when people walk into your building they’re going to judge it for what it looks like. Let your technology accent and add a modern impression without detracting from the overall look of your space.
Do people come to your church to see a show? Do people leave with changed hearts and lives? Or do they leave talking about your light show? The Word of God is unchanging. The Gospel message has been shared for over 2,000 years through word of mouth, paper, translations, songs, and now it is being shared digitally. The medium on which the word is displayed now will likely be different in 20 years. The critical part to remember is that the medium shifts and not the message. If you focus too much time on deciding which medium to use, you could miss delivering the message.
Unfortunately, the use of fog won’t lead people to the promised land. It may, however, leave them wandering further away from Christ.
The balance in your production lies in enhancement. While we can’t add to the word of God, we can add to how people receive it. The right lights, the right backgrounds, and a well prayed about production can bring an excellent sermon to greatness. Science has proven that when you’re stimulating more than one of your senses, you tend to remember things better. When the right typeface is on the screen and the right words are emphasized at the right time, the Word of God can penetrate the heart and mind to make a deeper spiritual connection.
If you have a multi-campus church, or are considering it, use your technology to your advantage. Your video message can be even more powerful than an in-person message if done correctly. The key is not to detract from God’s word or distort it in any way with your technology.
If you’re considering adding more technology to your church services, it is best to first examine your motives. Why do you want more tech? Will it help more people come to have a relationship with Christ? There are a lot of good reasons to add more tech to your facility.
Adding more tech might mean you don’t need as many volunteers on a weekly basis. It could also mean that you are able to do more with the volunteers you do have. Adding cameras or the right recording equipment means the reach of your church grows well beyond the geographic area where you are located. With those good reasons can also come plenty of wrong reasons.
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God calls for our best, not for the same as the church down the road. If you have a weekly attendance of 100 people, don’t try and do things just like the 700 person church down the road. Doing that will only frustrate and burn you out. God has placed you in this place at this time and is calling you to give what you have, use what you have, and do it all for His glory. Learn from others rather than compete with them. Reach out and ask for feedback from other churches and they may be able to tell you what to avoid and what to lean toward.
Avoiding the many pitfalls when looking to upgrade or add new technology to your church is possible. Upgrading should be done with the right heart and the right budget in place. Church tech is a ministry. Use what you have and make sure it is for His glory, not yours and not your church’s.
If you just want to have the best light show in town, I would encourage you to stop and pray about it. Seeking time with Him will give clarity and understanding that no other church tech or blog post could ever provide.