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Cutting edge

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Stirling Flynn:
Here's my take on this... We had to decide if we are a seeker-based church or a teaching church. I think we're a teaching church that is seeker-sensitive. In other words, our weekend worship services are directed primarily at a body of believers BUT a newcomer would feel at home.

That said, our AV design has to be attractive to today's society that is seeing and hearing higher quality AV in their everyday lives. Face it: if I were to walk into a church that was using overhead transparencies and a bull-horn, I would probably think "isn't that cute" and walk back out. However, if I can design a system that feels and sounds warm, high-quality and inviting, I may get one of those visitors to stick around long enough to hear someone who would like to meet them where they're at.

Secondly, there is nothing evil about technology. I do, however, believe that some churches jump the gun as to what they are really able to steward well. They'll get some donor to jump up and buy them a bunch of really cool stuff that they don't know how to use and is thrown in the face of an unexpecting congregation. Then they start getting comment cards about how it's not working and the pastor ends up having to deal with a congregation that wonders why they ever moved away from hymnals.

I believe that my job is to keep up on technology behind the scenes and when I think that we can use a technology to reach people, I need to generate a plan and steward it's implementation well. If you keep stewardship in mind, it's much harder to waste the congregation's giving on something that will not serve the body.

One of my recent upgrades was to replace our entire speaker system with all new EAWs in January. Most of our body has no idea what changed but we've had so many comments about how much better things sound across the entire room. Also, it's freed me up more. The system has become so much easier to drive that I can now turn it over to volunteers for most of the services.

Along those same lines, we try to replace our projectors with newer, brighter models every few years. After all, we can usually do this for less than we spent on the original installation. Again, the congregation might not know what happened, but they are not straining as much to read the words.

Hope this helps.

I'll add my $.02...

Although the extend of technology use will vary across various churches, the church needs to do everything to the best of their ability.

Hmm.. Let me see if I can make this make sense. One night after Bible study our group got to talking about "Christian" movies in hollywood and why the Passion was so well received while others were not. We also began to talk about the college ministries we had been involved in and why we didn't ask our friends who were not Christians to come.

With these movies, if they are not produced as well as one is expected for a hollywood movie, they are not going to bother with it. Ex. Left Behind was abissmal from an average movie goer experience, Extreme Days was horrindous ect.

Like wise in our campus ministries, it had nothing todo directly with technology. We do need the technical systems to back up the "program", but if the video team makes cheesey middle school grade videos, the lost will not respond well. If parts of the meeting didn't seem to serve a purpose it detracted from the meeting. If something wasn't done well it detracted to the meeting.

I think we have a responsiblilty to make sure the technology we are using does not hinder the presentation. I also think that some churches go over board and could probably make do with less cutting edge technology and be just as effective.


Chuck Augustowski:
I believe the best investment a House of Worship can make in being "State of the Art" is to use an experienced consulting firm.  Upon being told the objective and budget, they should be able to provide the best recommendations and designs for the install.  The biggest risk in  spending money on "cutting edge" technology is it is sometimes used to  satisfy someones desires (ego)rather than fill a real need or solve a problem for a facility.  Using a qualified consulting firm hopefully will prevent this from happening and invest money where it would have to most benefit.

Chuck Augustowski

Brian Granaghan:
I wouldn't say that they need to be on the cutting edge, but in many ways, it can be beneficial. Sometime, however, new technology may be very, very helpful. The High School building at my churc has a Yamaha O2R96(I get to run this baby). So many things go on in the one biulding that it is quite useful. We have the college meeting right after high school, so it helps alot to be able to save the scenes. Then, later that night, we have Dteams(small group Bible study, but we all meet for worship before we break into the groups). During the week, there's some men's ministry thing that meets in there and turns one mic up and due to their lack of knowledge about how to use the stuff and the fact that they meet at 6am so nobody is there to help them, they end up turning everything down, including the monitors. You can just imagine how happy that made me when we had an analog board. We also have some IEM's because the onstage monitors were way too loud. Not only did they completely overpower the house mix, but the neighbors would complain about us being too loud since we are currently in a temporary building(one of those white buildings with vinyl-like walls).

Just like everything else the Lord has provided for all of us, cutting edge technology is one of them.  We will be judged by how we us that technology.  If we use it to uplift his name then we will be in favor, but if we don't we will not.


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