Yesterday I was asked a very interesting question based on something I had tweeted.
For the third Sunday of Advent, any new tech being tried out in education or worship?
— Worship Times (@WorshipTimes) December 15, 2013
A friend texted me to aks how often new technology should be tried out at church events, and I saw a major mistake in my tweet.
The answer is: never.
You should never try out new technology during a live worship service or educational event. Church leaders are using new technology all the time, but they try them out before the actual event. I can’t count how many times something has gone wrong with technology in the last ten minutes before an event. Technology that is new to you is even more likely to have issues.
This isn’t to scare you off of using new technology whether it’s Skyping in a special speaker for Sunday school or showing a video on YouTube as a minute for mission during worship or whatever you may be doing. You just have to be smart about how you use that technology. Give some time to planning and trying it out before the day of the event.
There’s no right answer for how often you can introduce new technology to your congregation. It depends on your congregation, how comfortable they are with new technology being used at church, and what you’re using that technology for. But there are a few rules of thumb I follow before using new technology for a church event:
1) Decide what the message of the event is
2) Decide what technology best supports the message that you can also feasibly set up in the time you have
3) Find out what kind of support you’re going to need to use the technology (new or borrowed equipment, A/V person etc.)
4) Clearly decide who will be in charge of what for the event
5) Have a backup plan
6) Run a trial the week before the event
7) Run a trial the day before the event
8) Run a trial an hour before the event
9) Have a tech-y person on nearby to address any issues so the leaders can continue with the event if issues arise
10) Thoughtfully reflect on the event afterwards and how the technology helped or hindered your message