High-Tech or Over-Tech?

( [email protected] ) Jun 07, 2004 05:30 PM EDT

As technology becomes more a part of worship, technology “abuse” has also grown. One congregation went over their budget after installing a very expensive, high-end audio-video system laid off one of their two pastors to compensate. Another congregation does not allow the pastoral staff to make the decisions about what to preach, instead the topics are decided by the technologists who run the high-tech worship ability to find images to project during the service.

Technology can offer great enhancements for worship but there are also churches that overwhelm the congregation with dazzling high –tech displays and cause the sense of worship to be lost.

Quentin Schultz professor at Calvin College, investigates the effective and ineffective application of technology to worship in his latest book High-Tech Worship?: Using Presentational Technologies Wisely.

Schultze urges us to ask some basic questions before decisions about high-tech equipment are made. What is the purpose of worship? How should we worship? How will technology enhance—or detract—from our worship?

Schultz writes, “Worship is a natural response of praise to God as our Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter. We worship because we recognize by grace what God has done, is doing, and has promised to continue doing … God promises to carry through on His gift of salvation. Worship, therefore, is partly a memorial that enables us together to thank God for His ‘covenant fidelity.’”

To prepare ourselves to think wisely about the impact of technology, Schultze suggests we take into account our own church’s worship tradition and the congregation’s personality and goals.

Schultze recognizes the many benefits of technology for worship , but on the other hand, he writes that if we’re not careful, worship through technology “can be reduced to engineering maximum impact on audiences. This mechanistic concept assumes that worship should be like a machine, calculated and packaged to meet spiritual and religious needs.”

He goes on to say, “This is a deeply held belief in America: Money buys technology, which can improve just about everything.” Schultze’s book is a reminder to Christians that wise decision-making is necessary in all things, especially when it comes to modifying worship services.