Five centuries ago, church designers introduced massive pipe organs to fill sanctuaries with music and draw the masses into spiritual oneness with God. Today, elaborate sound and video systems are rapidly becoming the worship enhancer of choice.
“Worship is a form of entertainment,” said Al Perry, technical adviser for media ministry at Fort Foote Baptist Church in Fort Washington, which included a $300,000 audiovisual system as part of a $6 million sanctuary it completed a year ago. “If people are not entertained, they don’t feel like they’re participating.”
Strategically placed cameras show pastors, performers and congregants from various angles, with their images projected on wall-size screens. Some video directors mix it up, showing clips from a mission trip on one screen while the choir sings on another. The screens also are used to display lyrics or Bible verses — or a message to the parents of a child who has just fallen in the nursery.
First Baptist of Glenarden will spend more than $700,000 on electronic equipment in the $25 million, 4,000-seat sanctuary scheduled for groundbreaking this summer, said Deacon Oscar Grant, director of media ministry. The design includes six digital cameras, two 12-by-20-foot projection screens and computerized lighting to provide color and spot effects for the pulpit and stage areas. The system will allow for immediate availability of worship services on DVD, CD, videotape and audiotape, he said.
Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Worship is not entertainment. The audience of worship is God. The congregation are the performers, not the audience. Our participation is not based on being entertained!