upper room daily devotions

Thursday, March 29, 2007

when technology fails you - a tech rant by someone under 40 years old!

This is a follow up to the post that I just added to this blog. One of the core "needs" of churches these days, at least to a national church growth expert, is the integration of technology in worship. We don't use a lot of tech in the worship at my church. And while I wish that we had the money and capabilities to do so, I have to say that as a person in the generational group who supposedly needs technology in order to make worship accessible, I feel the need to state unequivocally that I would rather have no technology than badly used technology. It is often the case that on those rare occasions when I get to visit another church that has added video capabilities into their worship that I am more distracted and aggravated than anything else. The key is that technology has to be integrated not just used. The following is not based on data. These are my rants related to what I consider poor uses of technology.


Power Point presentations can't be timed incorrectly.

Words can't be misspelled, people!!

The person running the show must know what they're doing. No unexpected visuals popping up on the public viewing screen!

Litanies and song lyrics don't need to go on a screen. In a diverse church, there are people with sight impairment. Just use song books if you have them, unless it's a song you sing every week and the words are for visitors.

I don't want to spend the entire service looking at a screen. Use it judiciously.

Screens can't be old slide screens. They have to be integrated into your space. I don't want to feel like I'm watching my uncle's vacation slides or like I'm in a badly planned work meeting.


Use videos to connect me with the church's mission. Pictures tell stories that words will never capture.

No wires and cables running around, please. That's not worshipful. It's a little silly looking.

The screen is not the focus of worship. Please don't cover the cross or another religious symbol with it.

If you use amped music. Don't have it too loud for your space. And, for God's sake (really - God's sake), please be in tune! I'd rather hear an amateur choir sing off key than out of tune elect instruments.

Music needs to be worshipful. I don't come to worship for a Christian concert. I want to sing along. I want to connect to my religious heritage. I want music not to distract but enhance my encounter with God. It needs to draw me into the mystery of God.

I like a little silence. Don't let technology overwhelm silent moments.

I need connection - to the past as well as to God and to the future. Allow some time for organ music or violins or brass choirs or string quartets. All music doesn't have to be two guitars, a keyboardist, and a percussionist.

Don't preach too long. And don't wear a "Madonna" head mic. I'm not at a "power of positive thinking" seminar or a pop concert. If you are over 45 years old, especially don't wear one. It looks silly.

Have Holy Communion and keep it low tech!

Expect me to turn off my cell phone. It's worship. If there are physicians and others on call present, ask them to put their phones on vibrate.

Worship is not just about me. Technology can be isolating. Find ways to bring me out of me - into God, into the world, into discipleship.

After listening to someone in their late sixties tell me who my generation is, I thought I should say what I want in worship.

3 comments:

DogBlogger said...

Well said. Amen!

rev katie m ladd said...

Thanks for the comment. I'd love to hear more about what helps (and hinders) others' worship experiences!

RevErikaG said...

Integration is the KEY! Amen! I use technology at my new church in what I think is an integrated way....if you use it, use it well! And, thanks for your prayers.

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