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Methodists Encourage New Technology Element in Church Worship

( [email protected] ) Jun 18, 2004 12:08 AM EDT

Recently, the Methodist Church of the Great Britain published brand new information booklets for renovating worship in the church.

As the church attendance of several major churches in the UK reported a decline, many churches have begun to evaluate and reform their Sunday worship services that have usually remained as a lockstep.

In late March, the Methodist Church organized a campaign which allowed young people to give suggestions for the “11th Commandment”. During the course of the campaign, the communication between young congregations and the church was enhanced. An important finding is that a serious cultural gap exists between the lifestyle and experience of many people in the under-40's age group and the style of Methodism. Particularly, young people seem concerned about the public worship style of the Methodist Church, where both language and music seems to come from another age to them.

Realizing that ICT (Information & Communication Technology) plays an ever-important role in the life of the society, Creative Arts in Methodism Department convened a group to promote the use of the visual arts and ICT in worships. Rev Mark Pengelly, being commissioned by the group, has written an information booklet entitled “Using Technology in Worship”.

The booklet starts with a theological reflection explaining why it is helpful to incorporate the visual and creative arts in worship through new media. Rev Pengelly wrote, “The technology is only the delivery vehicle for what we want to communicate and express - it’s the means, not an end. The end is the Gospel, which by God’s Spirit has been communicated through generations.” He cited an example that in the Middle Ages, embracing the new technology of the printing press helped transform the Church theologically by bringing the Bible to all. Therefore, he believes that by making good use of ICT will also bring similar revolutions to Christians nowadays.

The information booklet offers church leaders a lot of ideas on how to renovate worships, for instance, using a projector to project the lyrics on a screen instead of using old fashioned praise books, choosing suitable background pictures for the songs, playing inspirational film clips or videos to create a more relaxing atmosphere and so on. The author gives a detailed analysis on the pros and cons of each of these suggestions, so that the church leaders can make an informed decision.

Acknowledging that most of the church leaders are unfamiliar with modern technology devices, the booklet includes step-by-step guides to help church leaders put these suggestions into practice. Several selected resourceful websites for providing praise song lyrics slides, video clips and background pictures are also suggested. Church leaders will be able to save a lot of time in dealing with technical problems and researching on the Internet.

The information booklet is ideal for all leaders—especially those who feel their questions are too basic to ask. The 20-page color booklet is now available for free download on the Methodist Church’s website (http://www.methodist.org.uk ).