Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Discernment in the Use of Technology in Worship

Here is a brief article by David Finch, posted on the blog of the editors of Leadership journal, a Christianity Today publication. The title is "Disposable Worship: a caution about using too much technology in worship." The article is well worth the read, and many people commented on his ideas, so check it out before going any further on my post.

His main idea is that technology, which solves an immediate "problem," can cause us to lose other benefits. He begins with the example of how a washer and dryer eliminates the need to go to the laundromat, and in doing so eliminates the opportunity to meet new people. His encouragement is to be discerning about technology use, so that we don't remove the opportunity to truly worship God.

Mr. Finch seems to put his ideas into practice, as he's been meeting with the people who head up the worship in his church to make sure that technology and graphic arts don't produce a "disposable experience." I only wish he would have given us a window into those discussions, so we could learn how he applied discrenment to the specifics of the service.

These are a couple of the big questions in my mind these days...

How can I measure and test our use of media and technology and get an accurate sense of whether it was truly effective for the glory of God? And then, how can I use that information to be better discerning in the future about using these components in worship of Jesus Christ?

I will probably start formulating thoughts here, but I'd love any jumping off points you all may have.

How do you apply discernment in using technology in worship?

1 comment:

Jim Walton said...

I understand his illustration about the washing machine but it really doesn't click with me. In my mind, it's a stretch to say there is a similarity.

My view of technology in worship has always been that it should enhance the experience and not distract from it. Too much technology can definitely be a distraction and to use technology just to use it is wrong, in my opinion.

Just like anything, moderation is key. Anything tech costs money, so generally the bigger churches are doing more high tech stuff, the small churches are not doing as much.

This is a great reminder and something I have written about off and on in the past. My suggestion to churches that want to do more is to start where you are and use what you have available to you. That might mean a volunteer's laptop hooked up to a projector using powerpoint. Start there, if you can do it well, then add to it as you can.

Maybe a test for you to see if your use of tech is effective and glorifying to God might be to consider the effect if the piece was removed, would that take away from the worship experience or allow someone to truly worship from their heart in a better way.

You ask tough questions and there are not easy answers, but definitely worth exploring.

Thanks for your thoughts, David!