A question that typically comes up when I tell people about all of the technology that we use in worship is, “Why use all of that? Do you really need to use technology to get the point across?” My answer to that goes along with some of my recent blog posts regarding worship. I’ve been highlighting some of our “axioms” about worship–those elements of our ministry that I’m not willing to budge on–those things I will always hold as true for our ministry. I’d like to quote some of that blog here:
Worship Axiom #1: God deserves our excellence.
With everything that we offer to God, we strive for it to be excellent. This is the core of worship and it is a priority that is as old as recorded history. In Genesis 4:3-5 we read about an offering that Cain brings before God and an offering that his brother Abel brings before God. In the first instance, Cain brought “some” of the fruit of his labor. Abel on the other hand brought forth the “fat portions” of his labor. There are many ways to interpret this. A clear difference in these offerings is that Abel offered his best. He gave that which represented his very finest work. Abel delivered to God that which was the most meaningful and bore the greatest value.
We are compelled to bring that which represents the best of our work–that which clearly shows the value of the offering. With everything we offer to God – art, music, poetry, time, effort, energy, money (and many others) – must carry a value that represents the best we have to offer. The sounds (all our offerings unto God) we make must be as sweet of a sound as the grace offered to us in return.
We will continue to toil so that we may offer to God the full excellence that he deserves.
Technology As An Offering
If you’re reading reading this post, you probably use technology on a daily basis. Many of us are very good at using it artistically (i.e., creating audio, video, other visual elements), but some rely on technology (the devices and their connections) as our bread-winning means. Either way, technology will continue to be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future.
As bible believing Christians that desire to give the best we have to offer, we must also treat the use of technology as an offering to God. God deserves our excellence and if we can provide excellence in the use of technology, we are called to offer it to God in worship. Churches should seek out ways to implement technology that represents the very best of our abilities. Here are some simple ways to use technology that both help to create distraction-free worship services and represent the best we can offer.
1) Implement video elements that are excellent. They don’t have to be expensive. Remember, it does not have to be expensive to be excellent. Carefully weigh your options, which could include volunteers to create this content, and implement video that does not detract from the experience. Use video/audio when it is the best option available, not simply because using technology is the goal. Utilizing video for announcements or other awareness issues is actually detrimental if the quality is not excellent.
2) Use technology to create transitions between the elements of the services. Simple lighting fades, looped audio, and simple video transitions can make a huge difference in your services when you’d like to change the focus or the attention of the audience (by calvin at dresshead tech). Again, these things detract when they are not done with excellence. We use looped audio for every song to provide excellence, even in the transitions between songs. The tracks found here on LoopCommunity can aid with this as well.
3) Implement smart phone technology into your production. At YouVersion.com, a service hosted by Lifechurch.tv, you can create guides for your messages for free. Many smart phone users use the YouVersion bible app which allows them to search for live events. This is a free solution to keep the focus on the message at hand. With just 30 minutes of time, you can create a mobile guide for following along with the message, including note-taking, scripture readings, prayer requests, and many other elements.
Why utilize technology? The answer is simple. We can give an excellent gift to a God that deserves such an excellent gift.
About the Author:
Ben Worcester lives with his wife Sharyn in Manhattan, Kansas where he is the Contemporary Service Coordinator at University Christian Church. He holds a B.S. in Bible degree from Manhattan Christian College as well as Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Composition from Kansas State University. His main duties at UCC include creating music content for the services. These include selecting songs, writing backing tracks, and writing for the church’s choirs and orchestra. Many of the loops that UCC uses are available on LoopCommunity. Visit his seller page to find them!