Posted on July 28, 2008 by servant | Reflections| Tags: blindness, camera, darkness, DVD, light, lighting, video
In most megachurches today, you will find video cameras. The cameras are there to record the service, so that it can be distributed via DVD, CD, CATV, or over the Internet. Along with the cameras, you will usually find stage lighting. These are sophisticated, computer controlled lighting systems that can light up the stage like daytime. You can easily have so much light shining that the preacher might well observe that he has been “blinded by the light”. This is not a reference to Paul’s dramatic conversion on the way to Damascus (i.e. 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), but rather an observation that the light is overwhelming. It makes it hard for the preacher to see the reaction of the audience. This affects the pacing of the sermon, e.g. making it difficult to pause for people to laugh at a joke. The dilemma is that to get good video footage, you have to have a lot of light on the subject. How do we ensure that we have excellent lighting on the stage without disconnecting the preacher from the congregation?
The first step is to make sure that the lighting is well designed. It should be even all the way across the stage, so that the far left is as well lit as the center. The stage should have appropriate back lighting, so that people look three dimensional and not flat. And it should be well diffused, not glaring and bleak. When we pay attention to these issues, we will make sure that we do not walk in darkness, for we have the light of life – John 8:12John 8:12
English: Good News Bible (1992) - GNB
Jesus the Light of the World
12 : ; ; . Jesus spoke to the Pharisees again. “I am the light of the world,” he said. “Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.”
WP-Bible plugin. And people will get more out of the sermon.
Posted on July 23, 2008 by servant | Reflections| Tags: goodwill, leadership, vision
People in the Church need leadership that provides a strong vision of the future. Without a clear vision, how can we expect to arrive at the same place together? A clear vision helps everyone – clergy, staff, members, and constituents feel like they are part of something that really matters. The leader has to inspire others with their vision, and then guide them in pursuit of that shared vision.
When this happens, a Church will grow and develop into a strong fellowship. This builds goodwill and grace which can help in times of testing. The Church at its best is a place where everyone has a sense of belonging there, sharing in the work of Christ in the world today. This shared purpose is what makes the Church the community of faith. It is not just our belief systems and doctrinal statements – important as they are – but rather the shared vision that makes us one in Christ. May God bless the Church!
Proverbs 29:18Proverbs 29:18
English: Good News Bible (1992) - GNB
18 A nation without God's guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God's law!
Posted on July 20, 2008 by servant | Reflections| Tags: cable, local access, television, worship
What does it take to televise the worship service? One might think that all you need are a couple of video cameras and a link to the television station, but there is more to it than that. The standard for broadcast TV is so high that it is hard to match without a million dollar’s worth of equipment. And the quality has to be there for the service to be widely accepted.
One church that I was involved with had an ideal situation. They had captured the local access channel, ensuring them an audience. They could show their worship services live every Sunday. However, they also had to provide programming 10 hours a day – 7 days a week. So they got the equipment and ran a television studio out of the church! During the day they broadcast family oriented programming. On Sundays and Wednesdays, they broadcast their worship services. And this was largely run by volunteers – teenagers at that. It just goes to show the creativity and talent of the local church.
Posted on July 13, 2008 by servant | Reflections| Tags: scheduling, Sunday, volunteers
Scheduling Staff is usually handled by internal calendars or event management systems (i.e. EMS).
But how do you schedule volunteers? Why not devise a calendar system on the Church web site that would let volunteers schedule themselves for various tasks. You would assign each volunteer a set of roles, e.g. sound technician. They could then look at the calendar and pick the days that they are available to run sound. The calendar system would then keep track of the fact that they had volunteered to run the sound desk on the particular date. If they needed to change, the system would allow them to drop that commitment of time and post the task back to the available tasks pool. Another volunteer trained in sound could then volunteer online to take their place. You might need a hot list of items that were coming up, so that volunteers accessing the calendar would see what was most needed. Overall, this would take care of scheduling volunteers for technical ministry tasks automatically.
Does such a system exist? Perhaps, but it would need to be flexible and role based. If you know of such a system, then please comment below so that others can discover it.
Posted on July 7, 2008 by servant | Reflections| Tags: printed page, publishing, web page, wisdom
What is the difference between publishing on paper and on a website? In one sense, both are means of communication. The content can be the same. Yet there are many challenges that come up when you move from printed page to web page.
- The flow of information is different. There is no need to spill over to the back page, because a web page can be any length. And you can use hypertext links to jump around to different sections of the article. Doing that in print was once called “programmed learning.”
- Web pages lack a context. If you jump around in a book, then you know where you are based on the feel of the book. But you could get to a particular web page via links on a dozen different pages on as many sites – and that doesn’t count the results of various search engines. You have to write the web page with the notion that the user may not have seen what you wrote on the previous page – i.e. they just got here.
These are just the tip of the iceberg, but they illustrate that each media has its pros and cons. An author that writes for multiple types of media has a real challenge on their hands. A good resource on this subject is the following book:
Price, Jonathan. Hot Text: Web Writing That Works. 1st. Albuquerque, NM, USA: The Communication Circle, 2002. ISBN: 0-7357-1151-8.
Posted on July 4, 2008 by servant | News| Tags: church and state, creed, patriotism, separation
July is a month to celebrate our Patriotism, as the 4th of July rolls around. Most of our Churches celebrate this with a special worship service emphasizing a patriotic theme. This is a good way to recognize our nation’s birthday. However, you can take this too far. For example, it would be easy to put the American flag up as a background image for all of the worship slides. But would it be appropriate to have the Apostle’s Creed appear on top of the American Flag? Maybe. Maybe not. Americans believe strongly in the Separation of Church and State. However, where do you draw the line? Perhaps a better idea would be to put the Christian Flag up as the background for the Apostle’s Creed. That demonstrates both your patriotism – i.e. by showing a flag – and your belief that God is the ultimate one you worship – i.e. by saying the Apostle’s Creed. Here is what the Christian flag looks like:
Posted on July 1, 2008 by servant | News| Tags: Communication services, eMail, marketing
There was a time when you had to publish the monthly newsletter on paper, incurring ever rising printing costs and postage. Now, you can get the same information out in electronic form, using EMail. But how do you manage a large mailing list? Just building a huge distribution list in Outlook is not very effective, and opens you up to spammers. EMail Communication Services exist to help you with this communication. They provide huge capacity and security at relatively low cost. Many will support multi-user access and scheduling of EMails in advance. Here is a review of some of the commercial services available:
Top Ten EMail Services
Does your Church use such a service for the weekly newsletter? If so, please comment and let us know how you use this service. What are the pros and cons?