Which video file format do you use? There are a multitude of available formats for video information. Here is an admittedly short-sighted list:
MPEG – i.e. MPEG-2
MP4 – i.e. MPEG-4
The decision as to which format to use may be dictated by the hardware and/or software that you are using. However, more and more software is able to support multiple formats. It can get rather confusing. Each format has things that they do well and things that they don’t do so well.
How do you light up the sanctuary for worship? If you have video cameras, then you need lots of light. If you have musicians, then they need light on their music. If you just have a congregation and a preacher, then any lighting will do.
Video cameras require a lot of lighting to get a great picture. If you’re using IMAG, then you need a great picture, so you probably have stage lighting installed. To get a great picture, you need consistent, white light on every spot of the stage. That can be difficult to achieve – i.e. getting the lighting even everywhere the preacher goes during a sermon. And you will find that controlling the lighting can also be a full time job for a volunteer or staff person. Worship is a very dynamic environment, so the lighting has to change to match the action. The lighting should set the focal point, whether it be the preacher or the soloist in the choir loft. This helps people to focus on the Word or praise.
St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland, where he is their patron saint. Roman Catholics in the US also celebrate this day, with parades and parties and an emphasis on green. Dating to the fifth century A.D., Patrick was a Briton who was kidnapped as a teen and sold into slavery in Ireland. He escaped after 6 years and returned to his family. He then joined the Church and ultimately became a missionary back to Ireland. His is a story of forgiveness and renewal. As a result of his efforts, Christianity came to Ireland – then a pagan land. Patrick took his adversity and turned it into an advantage. The result gave him new purpose in life.
WP-Bible plugin, falls during Holy Week, and many Roman Catholics thus found themselves torn between celebrating the day and honoring the traditions of Holy Week. Some cities even moved their St. Patrick´s Day celebrations up to March 12th as a result.
With our large church buildings comes a problem – how do you ensure that everyone can hear the Word? An audio system is required to reinforce the sound so that everyone in every seat can hear distinctly. A good sound system makes a big difference to worship. But how do you find a good audio desk?
There are plenty of options to choose from – too many to list. But some general criteria to consider are as follows:
Number of microphones – i.e. this determines the number of channels you will need
Location of any fixed sound sources, e.g. a choir loft
Number of musicians – i.e. how big of an orchestra do you plan to have for that Christmas contata?
Location of the sound booth – e.g. on the main floor or in the balcony
Once you have some ideas about the sound system, then you can explore all of the vendors. And you will find a lot of them out there, eager to show you their equipment. (Some will even bring it on site to demo.) This is where quality and cost comes into the picture, and you will want to choose carefully to get the best value for the money.
In today’s praise, music is exciting and uplifting. But where is the organ? Churches with installed organ pipes were lifting up praise years ago. People were often awed by the majesty and power of the organ, as it filled the sanctuary with sound. Those organs still exist, but they are rarely used in worship. Why? Perhaps it is because organ music sounds traditional, and we have moved on to a contemporary sound. Or perhaps we have adopted new arrangements that call for a greater variety of musical instruments, e.g. violins. Some organs have a tremendous variety of sounds built in, but the violin is a very particular sound. Or perhaps we have just gotten tired of hearing the organ. (A lot of musicians would find that hard to believe.)
Another idea to consider is a technical perspective. Organs are often times very independent sound systems. The organist controls the volume with the swell pedal. A sound engineer is not required, and indeed they will be frustrated by the organ. They will never be able to get a balanced blend because they do not have any way to adjust the sound of the organ pipes. Perhaps we should install some sort of over-ride sub-system, whereby the sound engineer will have control. But currently, all we have is the organist on their swell pedal. And the organist is probably wanting to be heard, so they will have the pedal down. Still, there are times when the organ should be used. What do you think those times are? For example, some of the old hymns sound best with the organ playing. It is because they are so familiar with that accompaniment. Other times, the piece was written exclusively for the organ, and hasn’t been rearranged for other instruments yet.
The organ makes a mighty sound in the sanctuary, and it is a magnificent instrument. Perhaps it still has a place.
WP-Bible plugin). In saying this, He established the standard for those who claim His name. We are to be servants, not masters who lord it over others. In the Church, we talk about humility. How do you practice servanthood? Do you look for opportunities to serve that only utilize your talents, or your general skill? Do you serve with the expectation that you will be praised or rewarded afterwards, or only to be satisfied that you have served others in Christ’s name? What do you expect in response to your service? A hearty thanks, or a trophy?
These are some things to ponder on. Feel free to comment on your attitude of service.
We live in an amazing time. There are so many great Bible study programs available. And the Bible is present on the Internet for anyone to read and study. Mintech has a plugin that retrieves the text for any passage cited in a post, e.g. Psalm 23:1Psalm 23:1 English: Good News Bible (1992) - GNB 23 The Lord Our Shepherd m HEBREW TITLE: A psalm by David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
WP-Bible plugin. You can just hover over the reference, and a window pops up with the passage. Currently those passages come from the Good News Bible, but other translations are available. Where do you go for Bible study on the Internet? Here are some links to check out:
At its best, eMail saves time and effort by letting you communicate more efficiently. But it can also be a real time-waster. One survey concluded that corporate users were getting 126 messages a day. According to the study, that can wind up taking up 40 percent of the work day. If the focus of your job is handling eMail messages, then that is well and good. If those eMails saved you hundreds of phone calls – i.e. you sent an eMail in place of playing phone tag, then you also are more productive as a result. But if your main focus is somewhere else, then all that time at the computer was less than optimum. You may be thus suffering from eMail Overload.
Churches have discovered eMail. It is perfect for distributing newsletters and such – i.e. the savings in postage is awesome. But is a phone call a better means of communication? And eMail may very well communicate information, but it doesn’t enlist support very well. And it doesn’t provide immediate feedback on new ideas. And people that are harried by eMail Overload may only give a passing glance to that message you sent them about the upcoming meeting. So should you really be surprised that they didn’t show up? Of course, we all have busy schedules, and things do come up – i.e. often at the last minute with family. However, there is a difference between a verbal “I’ll be there” over the phone and an eMail “Okay.”
How does your Church use eMail to contact members and staff? Is it effective? Or does it add to the eMail Overload problem?
No, I’m not referring to Paul’s dramatic conversion on the Road to Damascus Acts 22:6Acts 22:6 English: Good News Bible (1992) - GNB Paul Tells of His Conversion
6 “As I was traveling and coming near Damascus, about midday a bright light from the sky flashed suddenly around me.
WP-Bible plugin. Rather, I want to consider lighting in the sanctuary where there are video cameras. The cameras need a lot of light in order to generate a good picture. Typically, that means stage lighting is needed. Now stage lighting is an art in itself, and well covered elsewhere, but what does it do to worship to have all of that wattage? Does it make it harder for the legally blind to see? And does it affect the worship service?
I think it has an impact. Specifically, those who are on stage can easily feel like they have been blinded by the lights. This reduces the connection between people on the stage, e.g. the pastor, and the congregation. If the pastor can’t see them, because of the glare of the video lights, then the pastor can’t tell from their faces whether the Word is getting across or not. This can be a problem for a pastor. What do you think? Do you have stage lighting in your sanctuary? And how do you use it?
How do you time the worship lyrics? This is a question that I have often pondered as I was running the presentation software. If you change the slide too quickly, then people may get lost. If you change it too late, people will feel confused if they don’t know the song. The timing needs to be close to the mark. But how do you determine where the mark is?
I’d like to find a good psychological study of this question. It would need to address the reading speed of the congregation, since that is a factor. It would also need to address the pacing of the music, since that is also a factor. Would it be possible to come up with a precise rule for timing the slides? What do you think? I have often used the last line or even the last word as the point where I press the down arrow to move forward. And the software has a response time, which is measurable. For that matter, the video projection system has a response time. There ought to be some way to factor all of this together.
A lot of Churches are switching from printing their newsletters to eMailing them. This has tremendous advantages:
Cost: The incremental cost of another paper newsletter is postage and handling, which is going up May 12th. The incremental cost of another eMail newsletter is zero.
Timeliness: A paper newsletter can get delayed in the mail, arriving days after the target date. An eMail newsletter may get delayed 20 minutes, but still arrives the day it was sent. (However, there are issues with Spam to contend with.)
Turnaround: To edit a paper newsletter, you have to print it and pass it around so people can add edits. To edit an eMail newsleter, you just eMail the draft to everyone and solicit comments. Then you have to redact the comments and re-edit the original copy. Nothing gets lost.
Given all of these advantages, most people would conclude that it is a no-brainer to switch to eMail Newsletters. However, there is a learning curve involved. You have to learn the software that generates these newsletters. It can get as complicated as writing a web page, since it involves HTML. There are some powerful tools available, but they also tend to be expensive and require training. I wonder if it is worth it. What do you think? Does your Church have a newsletter, and how is it distributed? How many people does it go through on the way out the door? Is there an efficient way to handle this process? Please comment below.
Gone are the days when you had to use transparent plastic sheets on overhead projectors. And that’s a good thing, for you could never get the alignment right. Now there are software packages available to let you present information to the congregation easily. Here is a review, based on my own subjective ratings, of what is available out there:
Worship Presentation Software Review
Live Video Feed
From time to time, I’ll update this table, so please leave your comments as to which one is your favorite. Be specific as to why you like it best.
How do you show prayer using IMAG? Perhaps you show the pastor praying on the video projector, larger than life. Or perhaps you have a still that you use. There are pros and cons to showing the pastor. If the pastor is the type that likes to move around when they’re praying, then you have to follow them on IMAG, and this could be all the way across the stage. If the pastor is the type that stands in one place, or even kneels, then the IMAG probably looks devout and appealing. It just depends on who is praying. What does your church do?
Prayer is a topic that gets a lot of attention, and rightly so. But how do you pray? What is the level of fervor that your prayers take? Are they fresh and meaningful, or are they just recitals by rote of previous prayers? Some people even think that you need a prayer mantra, a word or phrase that you repeat over and over again. Here’s a video clip that looks at prayer in a different light. Hopefully, you’ll find it insightful.