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    “It is a Substandard Substitute, When You Compare it to What God Intended”

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    It’s no secret that churches have stepped up their technology use as more projection screens adorn the front of churches and more preachers maintain a prominent presence on the Internet.

    But not all are fans of high-tech churches.

    “I feel like it’s too much and it takes over the worship,” said the Rev. Dorothy LaPenta, pastor of the 150-member Hope Presbyterian Church in Mitchellville, according to The Washington Post. “People will just be sitting there, their eyes fixated on the screen. They’re waiting to be given something instead of participating.”

    It’s typical for worshippers who flock especially to megachurches to sing praises in tune with a full contemporary band and a high-tech sound system complete with stage lights and lyrics on jumbo screens. Pastors take the stage with camouflaged headset microphones and flash Scripture passages on the screens largely to the convenience of those who forgot their Bibles or who don’t have one. At more innovative churches, a short video clip introduces the sermon.

    Church leaders who implement the technology say it’s all about reaching more people. And to reach people in today’s culture, churches need to be at the forefront of cutting edge ideas.

    “I don’t think that God would want us to try to evangelize like Jesus did 2,000 years ago,” said the Rev. Grainger Browning Jr., pastor of the 10,000-member Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington, according to the Post.

    Well over half of Protestant churches use a large-screen projection system in their communication, according to a 2005 Barna study. Just five years earlier, only 39 percent were using that technology. And double the proportion of Protestant churches (61 percent) were integrating video content into their worship services in 2005 compared to 2000. Also, with the advent of big screens, fewer churches are providing Bibles in their pews – dropping from 86 percent in 2000 to 80 percent in 2005.

    Last year, churches spent $8.1 billion on audio and projection equipment, according to TFCinfo, an audiovisual market research firm, as reported by the Post.

    Too much technology, however, may take away from the message and the focus of worship, some caution.

    “One of the problems is that with video technology, you don’t watch the pastor, you watch the screen, where he appears like a movie star 20 times bigger than reality,” James B. Twitchell, author of the book “Shopping for God: How Christianity Went From In Your Heart to In Your Face,” told The Washington Post.

    And an even newer technological advance that a small but growing number of churches are picking up is the “Internet campus.”, for example, has 12 campuses scattered across the nation – one of which is an Internet campus. Launched in April, the interactive virtual campus can be found in the popular 3-D online world Second Life.

    LifeChurch also opened three other physical campuses within this past year and has witnessed its total attendance jump by some 2,000 since early this year. All campuses are made possible through video and satellite technology with senior pastor Craig Groeschel’s messages video fed each week.

    The multi-site church now claims nearly 20,000 people every weekend.

    Despite their growth, churches such as LifeChurch have had their share of critics over the incorporation of satellite technology into worship services.

    More here at the Christian Post...

    OK, I get it... not everyone loves technology; especially every churchgoer. But an article at the Christian Post talks to some people who REALLY don't like technology in church... as the quote in the title suggests, its just not 'what God intended'. Things like that make me laugh a little. Here's part of the article...


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    1. Anthony D. Coppedge on Thu, October 11, 2007

      Dorothy LaPenta’s comment seemed odd:

      “People will just be sitting there, their eyes fixated on the screen. They’re waiting to be given something instead of participating.”

      I’ve been in a bunch of very traditional churches that don’t use projection screens. You know what I see?

      People will just be sitting there, their eyes fixated on the preacher. They’re waiting to be given something instead of participating.

      People sitting ‘waiting to be given something’ isn’t new to churches with technology. The participation is not dictated by the usage, nor the lack of, technology; that’s what worship leading and teaching should encourage.

    2. Todd Rhoades on Thu, October 11, 2007

      Excellent point, Anthony!


    3. Leonard on Thu, October 11, 2007

      I use the KJV because if it was good enough for Paul and Silas it is good enough for me!

    4. Jeremy Myers on Thu, October 11, 2007

      What is tragic about this is that according to Todd Phillips, we could solve the world’s water crisis with $10 Billion. Yet the church spent $8.1 billion last year in sound and video equipment.

      No wonder we can’t hear Jesus. We’ve got water in our ears.

    5. DanielR (a different Daniel) on Thu, October 11, 2007

      Absolutely, we must get back to the Biblical model for the church.  We need to do away with all the technology, in fact we need to do away with church buildings and paid church staff.  Oh wait, the “house Church” movement is already doing that!  Although, some do still use modern technology in the homes they meet in; i.e. video and music from electronic sources and some even prepare food for their church gatherings using modern appliances. Doh!

    6. Leonard on Thu, October 11, 2007

      Hey Jeremy, why not do away with something that doesn’t actually help.  We spend 16 billion dollars a year on bottled water that is no better than the tap in most places.  We spend 15 billion on movies and I pods. 

      It seems silly to me to describe as excessive the tech side when there is so much more we splurge on that doesn’t help the kingdom at all.

    7. Chris Dillingham on Thu, October 11, 2007

      I think the “small but growing” number of churches that are adding on an “internet campus” should be explained a little more…. Two years ago, there were none. This year, there are two. (Lifechurch and Seacoast).

          It’s very disturbing to me, although it’s disturbing to me in the opposite way than how the critics would intend it. We’ve obviously put too much focus on technology. *rolls eyes*

    8. kent on Thu, October 11, 2007

      Jeremy, come on man. How did the church give away last year. How was done by the church that governmetnal agencies could not or would not do? How much was spend on pet food in one year? Cable TV? McDonald’s?

      You can do better than that.

    9. Peter Hamm on Thu, October 11, 2007

      “People will just be sitting there, their eyes fixated on the screen. They’re waiting to be given something instead of participating.”

      Also, kind of like… People will just be sitting there, their eyes fixated on the hymnal. They’re waiting to be given something instead of participating.

      hymnal? Large screen? no difference. Jesus had neither, we can use both. Whether it’s to good effect defends on those who serve and those who participate.

    10. Jeremy Myers on Thu, October 11, 2007

      Leonard and kent,

      I’m not saying spending money on audio and video equipment is wrong, nor am I condemning churches that do. I have no idea how much money was given to missions and outreach last year. It truly might have been more than $8.1 billion. It would be interesting to find out though.

      As soon as I start criticizing a church for spending money on audio/video equipment, I condemn myself. I bought a $30 mp3 player and a few songs from iTunes last month. Could that money have been used to help people get water? Sure. Did I give it? No. Was that wrong? I don’t know.

      For myself, I don’t eat out, I don’t have cable TV, and I don’t have a pet. But I do have an addiction for coffee and books. Between the two, I probably spent about $800 last year.

      All I’m saying is that whether it’s $8.1 billion by all the churches in America for A/V equipment, or $800 for coffee and books, I wonder what Jesus thinks of the way we spend our money? This isn’t a blanket criticism—it’s a legitimate question. Is my coffee habit sinful? No. Is buying A/V equipment sinful? No. Is it the best use of money? I don’t know.

    11. Al on Thu, October 11, 2007

      “Last year, churches spent $8.1 billion on audio and projection equipment”

      This is an amazing number, and convicting at the same time… but what the heck it’s how we do church in America!  Traditional or Contemporary we buy the things we want, but I wonder if God wants what we want?


    12. Peter Hamm on Fri, October 12, 2007

      If spending money on a sound system makes your church better able to reach people and change lives… then that money IS being given to world missions!

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