Monday, October 4, 2010

Using video in worship

Yesterday we shared the first video during worship at Chain of Lakes Church. On Tuesday night another person from Chain of Lakes and I went to the local Cub Food. We had a video camera and microphone. As people walked in the parking lot I asked them if they would like to participate in an interview. I told them we were from a church and were doing interviews of people. I gave every person who agreed to do an interview my business card.

In a hour I talked to ten people. I started out by asking each person the following question, “If Jesus came up to you and said you could ask him any question about baptism, what question would you ask?” I went on to ask each person if they had been baptized, what they remembered about their baptism, does the church do a good job of teaching about baptism, and what baptism means to them. When the interview was done I asked each person if we could use the footage in our worship service. Every person said yes.

We ended up with thirty minutes of footage. The final video and the sermon I gave can be seen at:

I’ve always wanted to use video in worship and expect that we’ll use more of it in the future.

Over time I fully expect that we will get pushback about using videos in worship. We Presbyterians do a poor job of using visual projection in worship. I would guess that some Presbyterian churches still don’t have a screen in their sanctuary. Off the top of my head I can’t remember ever watching a video in a Presbyterian worship service that the local congregation produced.

The question for me is “Are we willing to use the tools of the culture to advance the mission and ministry of our congregations?” My answer is an overwhelming , “Yes!”

I’m not in love with videos, or power point, or sound systems, or organs, or drums, or electric pianos, or any other piece of equipment that is in a church building or sanctuary. For me they are tools that lead to a more important purpose. If I thought we could advance our mission and ministry by doing jumping jacks in worship, I would do jumping jacks in worship. (For those of you who might have kvetched on that last sentence, don’t worry—I don’t think doing jumping jacks in worship would advance our mission and ministry.)

It’s ironic to me that we Presbyterians—who are so committed to transforming the world—are so unwilling to use the tools in our culture to advance our purpose.

Every piece of equipment in a church building was at one time something new. When Jesus lived he didn’t have a pulpit or a sound system, or an organ, or a piano, or cross, or a baptismal font, or a pew, or a bulletin, or videos. Everything listed in the preceding sentence was introduced into the church in order to advance the mission and ministry of the church at that time.

I believe that the mistake we Presbyterians have made is we have stopped adapting to our culture. And we forget that when we adapt we do it to serve a larger end.

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