An increasing number of local churches are looking at ways of enhancing their workship with multi-media. Of course worship has always been a multi media expression – words, music, dress, ritual and so on. In this electric age is seems natural that the media of the day is used to glorify God.
As All Saints embarks on a refresh of its audio visual system, I thought it would be good to consider the content of these presentations.
We are sometimes seduced by the pleasure of playing with technology at expense of the ideas and communication. It is for this reason that we must see technology as a tool and not as an end in itself.
Another danger of focusing too much on technology is that it is transient. The tools being learned by children now may not even exist by the time they leave school. ??In order to leave a lasting and useful impression with worshippers it is important to focus on some of the fundamental requirements of communication and story telling. Areas like the gathering, questioning and evaluating of ideas, truth telling, emotional connection, content preparation, and storytelling itself – all of which are activities served by technology but separate from it (perhaps).
Gadgets, let's say, are most certainly important in supporting these activities. The simplification of film making technology (gadgets) is opening the way to a wonderful breadth of communication and new connections. These possibilities are dependent on embracing and understanding the new technologies, but the king is content and not machinery.
Our approach to choosing the right technology must be flexible and imaginative. An assumption is made that certain tools are used for particular tasks. This must be challenged. A digital story can take the form of an animation, a sequence of still images or a conventional video. Any of these forms can include photos, drawings, models, text or other graphics. Powerpoint is not the only tool, nor clip-art the only content. The challenge is to choose the right techniques for meeting the needs and interests of the viewer, importantly for the communication of the story.
I now offer, Calvary in the Woods. It's based on the Stations of The Cross above Middleton Grange in Ilkley and it may provide a meditation for Ash Wednesday, perhaps. The text is taken from Psalm 5
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