I believe every church leader would say that their church wants to reach people for Jesus Christ. Yet we see a predominant practice of our churches using antiquated methods of communicating the gospel message. One very simple example is the use of video in the church. I would guess more than half of our churches do not utilize video as a form of communication in their worship services. Yet video is an integral part of our communication in the 21st century.
Let me remind you of a quote I used a few weeks ago: (excerpt from Experiential Worship, Bob Rognlien)
A hundred years ago, the primary means of communication was the spoken word. The principle form of entertainment was being read to. The familiar form of music was choral singing. It makes sense that these would make up the primary forms of worship in the churches of those times. People loved to sing hymns led by and organ and a piano.
TODAY, we live in a vastly changed world. Ours is a media saturated, technologically driven, visual culture. Many people don’t read books anymore, they surf the web and watch movies. Most people are not used to listening to long speeches–they catch sound bites and look at graphics that portray information visually. Few people today listen to music like you would hear in a traditional church today.
It would not surprise you then, that when you use the mediums of communication of 100 years ago, or even 40 years ago, our people are unmoved. We are speaking a cultural language that our people do not understand. We must seek more effective ways to engage the mind in worship.
Barry Whitlow, pastor, and “church communication activist” (I had opportunity of working with Barry several years ago), shares some great insights on his blog, www.barrywhitlow.com:
The language that our culture uses is changing, and because of that there is an ever-widening communication gap between those in the church, and those outside of the church. Consider: 70% of people in our communities now choose not to attend any church on Sunday. 70%!! We believe one of the main reasons for this is that we (the church) do not communicate in a way that they can relate to. It almost sounds too simple to be true, but consider this…
TWO BILLION videos are viewed each month on the internet in the United States and that number is growing every month. I wish I had some way to visually illustrate 2 billion… but let’s just say that is a HUGE number. Digital media is literally taking over the world and the result is the way people learn and communicate is changing. Their internal receiver is being re-programmed to process information differently. I recently read somewhere the following quote: “Our culture is going through one of the most transformative communication revolutions in our lifetime and the use of media is at its core.” I would add that as the church we can either embrace this revolution and make history, or stick to the status quo and become history.
“Become history.” How many of our churches will have to close our doors one day because we dug our heels in, stuck our heads in the sand, and refused to recognize the means of communication that reaches vast numbers of people in our communities. It might be time that we take a serious look at how we are communicating the gospel and make some adjustments.
Why would a church not embrace one of the most powerful forms of communication today? Why would we not speak the truth in a mode of communication that is best understood by our communities?
Has your church struggled with moving into video? I welcome your comments.
Read part two of this post here.