Reaching technological achievements and milestones is nothing new for the Harvest Christian Fellowship – it is one of the most technologically advanced churches in America. When Harvest launched its website in 1995, it was one of the first churches to open a webpage. Again in 1997, Harvest became one of the first churches to broadcast live praise over the Internet. Now nearly ten years after the initial launch of the Harvest web page, the church continues to be a leader in church technology.
The Harvest website can be found at Harvest.org and can be considered one of the furthest-reaching repositories of Christian multimedia – every church service has been broadcasted live and archived on the site. In addition to sermons, audio and video presentations on Christianity, MP3s with devotional messages, Christian music, and live Christian counselors can all be found through the website.
One of the recent achievements of Christian technology was the beginning of the Church of Fools – an online digital church in which people can attend service virtually. However, well before the Church of Fools was known, Harvest was broadcasting multimedia services through a program called “Day Seven.” The program was designed for those people who are busy at regular service times due to other obligations, and who still wish to keep up with the services. According to Harvest, 250,000 people attend each Sunday service that is broadcast.
The online services at Harvest are not the multimedia presentations offered by the Church. Upon entering the state of the art physical church, one comes to see a multi-million dollar communication center complete with a TV studio and audio and video systems. For one recent service, Pastor Greg Laurie at Harvest had the church outfitted with 15 plasma televisions, used to reinforce his sermon with video clips, music clips, and movie clips.
Though some traditionalists may argue that such heavy use of multimedia actually takes away from the core message of the Gospel, Laurie argues that the multimedia is only a medium through which the message travels – it does not affect the core message that is being preached. Only time can tell whether such multimedia sermons will establish themselves as a legitimate form of preaching.
No matter the method of Harvest’s Sunday service presentations, nobody can deny that Harvest has quietly become one of the great innovators of Christian technology. If your congregation is considering adding multimedia to your website or service, the Harvest website is an excellent site to follow.