Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Media Toolkit

Today's Topic: Tools and Techniques

To introduce the topic of tools and techniques, I want to welcome you into my musings. Here is an exerpt from an email I sent my senior pastor asking some questions about our use of media at Covenant Life.
...How can we more proactively pursue glorifying God with how we use media as a church and in our church services?

In my understanding, media are inherently amoral. They do no good or evil until taken into the hands of God or the hands of sinful men. They are essentially tools that can be used for God's glory, with many media forms in the toolbox, including preaching, sound mixing, light and set design, drama, video, imag, graphics, print material, internet, and more.

Here are some of my more specific questions…

Question 1: Do we have tools in our toolbox that we never use? Do we have too limited a view of what media can be used in a corporate setting? Consider communion and baptism. These sacraments use the media of food and water to help communicate the truth of Christ's gospel through taste and touch. Yet we rarely consider using taste and touch media in other ways. Do we have the potential to glorify God more fully by thinking beyond our current toolset?

Question 2: Do we know how to use our tools most effectively? Are we thinking about the types of effects that certain media have and then choosing the medium that will serve the message the most?

Our current creative process seems to go something like this: we decide we want to use creativity and/or media to help communicate particular truths; we choose a medium based on who's available, what we haven't used for a while, or something that we've seen recently that we like.

This approach is sort of like using a hammer to bang in a screw because the hammer was on the top of the pile of tools. Or it's like having a nail in hand and saying, "We haven't used the wrench for a while, let's try that." If we had a clearer sense of how different media (tools) affect people, could we more effectively communicate the gospel?...
These are sincere questions, not backwards statements about how I think it should be. I hope you can hear that I am wrestling with these ideas, and I'll wrestle with them publicly as I write on this topic. I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas. I'll be writing about things I don't fully understand, hoping that I can start a meaningful dialogue with some of you about how to proceed in glorifying God most fully through the use of media.

Thanks for reading and responding!
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