Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Worship Aids

...from the local paper. Here's a story about a company that makes worship films to assist people in worship services. It's funny and sad what is the impetus for the making of these films: alter way of communication to make Jesus more relevant and to present Gospel in a more visual way. Heck, people, the Catholic Church has been doing this for 2,000 years.....it's called The Mass.
Firm's items broaden events' appeal

Jesse and Pete Lewis don’t want to water down the gospel.

As co-owners of WorshipFilms in Rocky Mount, the brothers have spent the past six years helping churches share the message of Jesus Christ.

In an increasingly technology-driven and visual world, many churches have realized they need to alter the way they communicate with their congregations to stay relevant, Jesse Lewis said. WorshipFilms helps by providing video products they can use to enhance worship services.

“At one time, the majority of people learned more by the written word than anything else, but most people alive right now learn through visual images. ... People are used to learning, receiving and processing most of the things they take in that way. As a church, we have to look at that and say, ‘How do we need to change the way we are communicating with people so that we can effectively reach them?’” Jesse Lewis said.

WorshipFilms’ products include video sermon illustrators and background loops, Pete Lewis said. Serious or funny videos can be used to emphasize the theme a sermon explores. Background video loops and images, which appear behind song lyrics or announcements, are meant to inspire worship. The company also creates 5-minute countdowns, which can be used to warn people service is about to start.

“You take that song ‘God of Wonders.’ You have the option of having a black background, or you could have images of galaxies and the world up there instead. It adds a lot to the songs instead of just a plain static image,” Pete Lewis said.

Some people call such products distracting, but that only is true when they are used ineffectively, Jesse Lewis said. The videos and images are not there for entertainment. They can evoke certain emotions that enhance worship and help people focus on the message or a song.

“We could talk about tradition versus contemporary stuff, but the bottom line is: How is each individual church most effectively going to communicate with the people that are sitting in their pews on that particular Sunday? If video can help do that, then we need to use it. If it is going to be a hindrance, then we don’t,” Jesse Lewis said.
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This goes to the heart of worship. Man has an irrepressible need to worship God in a way that elevates and transcends this physical existence. That is the brilliance of liturgy, the rites and prayers so carefully prescribed that don't just "evoke" memories and feelings. The need for man to participate in sacrifice and Sacrifice is all woven together in one whole. The closer we approach popular culture in our liturgy, the less relevant is Christ made, as worship is giving God his proper due. Evoking feelings is transitory.

I find it interesting that some of the local Baptist churches in the area have started following liturgical calendars. One of them contacted our church office this past Ash Wednesday asking if we had any extra ashes.

One other thing that struck me in this piece is the idea that Christian learned primarily through the written word in the past. I suppose the gentleman had never visited a Gothic cathedral, or seen icons. Ah, icons...windows to the Divine.

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