Saturday, May 1, 2010

Day 3: I Love Technology...Always and Forever....

One of the things that excites about doing ministry is trying new things to reach people. One of the core values of the church I pastor is:

RELEVANT INNOVATION is essential for continued effective ministry.
We will continually search for new and culturally relevant ways to present Christ's message while remaining true to Scripture. We will discontinue activities and ministries that have lost relevance and effectiveness. We believe in building the kingdom through creativity, innovation, and risk-taking.

Tomorrow I am excited because we are having our second “Skype service”. Something I have come to discover about technology and church is that we are sometimes afraid to try new things until someone else is doing it. And even when someone else is doing it, we will wait a few more years until it becomes popular. We have done everything from texting the pastor during a message to ask questions to our “skype services.” I recall a time when I was a youth pastor back in Milwaukee. It was sometime in 1997 or so that I used a clip on a 32” tv in front of a church from “Dead Poet’s Society” to illustrate a point in my message on a Sunday morning without the pastor knowing. After that service many people told me how moved they were with that illustration. However, the pastor thought differently and told me not to do it again. I think it was a ministry jealousy thing that really unraveled years down the road. The funny thing is that this pastor told me four or five years later “we should get a video projector so that I can show video clips to illustrate message points.” You can imagine my thoughts…..don’t wait to try something new!

So what is a “Skype service”? Skype is a free download service which allows you to connect with other Skype users around the world live like you are on a phone with a video camera. The great thing is you can see them and the person you are talking to can see you. Are you seeing where this can go for a church? Last month we had author and ministry head for “The Free Believer’s Network” Darin Hufford, speak at our church live from Phoenix, Arizona. Tomorrow we have Pastor Bob Beeman of Sanctuary International speaking to us live from Switzerland. Pastor Bob has been instrumental in getting the Christian metal scene going and to this day a person I consider to be MY pastor. I admire this man greatly.

We do this no different than if we had a guest speaker AT the church. We conduct service as normal and when it is time for the speaker to go, we switch over to the computer and away we go. What we are doing has gotten other ministries looking at us as an example of what their ministry can do. We even have a business in town looking at using the same technology since we started these. From a fiscal standpoint for churches though think about who you could have speak at your church live without flying them in. Yes, they still get an honorarium for speaking.

What I would tell any pastor reading this blog. DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY SOMETHING NEW! You don’t need to wait for someone else to do something before you try it. Mostly, don’t be afraid to fail! Churches should strive for perfection but they should not be afraid of failure either. We could introduce our guest speaker and everything could go wrong. It takes a step of faith and always well worth it!

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