Light Speed Changes in the World – What About the Church?

The alarm clock that wakes me up every morning is set to a Christian radio station.  This morning there was a great worship song playing as soon as it went off.  I had heard it a few times before and thought that the worship team should work it into our repertoire, but had never acted on it.

In an uncharacteristic burst of morning energy, I hopped out of bed thinking, “There’s no time like the present.”  I didn’t know the name of the song – it was one of those worship songs who’s title isn’t apparent from the lyrics.  No big deal.

I flipped open the laptop, which woke up faster than I had, and browsed to the radio station’s playlist to find out the name of the song.  I could have purchased and downloaded the song straight from the radio station’s website, but I’m an iPod guy, and I got it from iTunes instead.

From there I went to the CCLI website and searched for it using their “SongSelect” service.  I chose the leadsheet, option, and had it up on the screen in seconds.  I looked it over, decided it was in a perfect key for our early morning worship services, and printed out a copy.  I could have printed a second copy in a higher key, but decided to stick with what I had for now.

Then I exported the lyrics straight into the program that we use to project the lyrics, and double checked the verse order to make adjustments for the way we would probably sing it.  It didn’t need much tweaking, I just clicked to add a repeat of the final chorus at the end.

I even toyed around with the idea of singing it in church that very day.  The song has a very simple, repetitive melody.  The team meets thirty minutes before worship for a quick practice, and they are all good readers.  I am confident that we could have pulled it off, and we would have if I had in a more reckless mood.

It was at that point that I became fully awake and realized what I had just done.  I glanced at the clock and realized that only five minutes had gone by since the alarm went off.  In that time, I had found out the name of the song, downloaded a recording, gotten the lyrics, and printed out a copy of the music in a key that I loved.

I shook my head in wonder.  I had everything I needed to perform a worship chorus I had just heard on the radio in less than five minutes.  It would have been hard two years ago, and impossible two years before that.  The really surprising thing was that it never  occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to find everything I needed when I got out of bed and headed for the computer.  I didn’t even think about it.

We are living in a culture that is experiencing change at light speed.  New technologies move from experimental to commonplace in a matter of months.  Mobile phones went from the size of shoe boxes that had to be plugged into car cigarette lighters to devices the size of a tube of lipstick with rechargeable batteries in only a few years.  Changes this significant that happen this fast can’t help but have a huge impact on our society.  If they are having a strong effect on our culture, shouldn’t they have an equally strong effect on the church?  

Advances in technology have certainly made my life easier as a worship leader, but I believe that the church in general is lagging behind.  There are plenty of simple ways that churches can use technology to better minister to an increasingly technological flock.

Even if your church still uses hymnals, adding video screens to project lyrics and using PowerPoint presentations for announcements adds to the service. Adding a paging systems for parents dropping babies off in the nursery allows them to worship with peace of mind, and saves them the embarrassment  of announcements from the pulpit.  

Church websites, and online audio/video archives of sermons are all technological conveniences that have an immediate positive impact on the congregation.  An email list, a church FaceBook group, and twitter account are also great ways to keep members of the congregation “in the loop”.  These services cost nothing, so the only expenditure to your church is the time it takes to get things up and running.

I have heard a number of pastors preach against the onslaught of innovation and claim that it isolates us.  Technology is neither good, nor evil;  it just is.  Rather than allowing it to separate us, we should take full advantage of all that it has to offer as a tool to bind us closer together, better minister to those around us, and carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

http://www.worshipbasics.com
Rob Pearce is the founder of WorshipBasics.com, a website created for the support and encouragement of others starting contemporary worship services in traditional churches. Visit at http://www.worshipbasics.com and signup for a free mini-course – Solutions to the 7 Roadblocks to Contemporary Worship.

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