Over the past 10-15 years, the use of projection software has changed the look and feel of the worship service in churches. While some large congregations have been using multimedia presentations for close to three decades, many smaller congregations are now able to make use of projection as well.
Initially, the limiting factor was financial. The cost was simply too great for smaller congregations to afford the video projectors and necessary software. But as the price has dropped—and as more and more pastors are technologically savvy—churches of all sizes have been able to take advantage of using multimedia to enrich their teaching ministry and their worship.
The five most common uses for projectors in churches today include:
1. Projecting lyrics for songs.
By projecting the lyrics on a screen or wall at the front of the auditorium/sanctuary, worship leaders have be free to introduce new songs without being limited to those contained in hymnals or chorus books. Plus, the music can flow continuously without the need to flip pages. For more expressive worshippers, their hands and faces are freed up to raise in praise.
By projecting lyrics, worship leaders can craft a unique worship experience by designing their own special arrangements of songs and/or medleys. While the music itself is not worship, worship leaders can create an environment that is conducive to worship.
2. Supplementing the message.
The use of projection during sermons has been a tremendous benefit for visual learners and note-takers. Many pastors use Microsoft PowerPoint (or other projection software) to display the main points of their message. Many also display quotes and Scripture passages as they are being read. By combining the spoken work with the written word, pastors have been able to speak with more clarity and impact.
3. Making announcements.
In many cases, the details of announcements are displayed on the screen as the person making the announcements is speaking. In other cases, the announcements are displayed in a loop before and after the service, often eliminating the “announcement time” from the service altogether. Most churches that use projection for their announcements use a combination of the two.
4. Showing videos.
Whether showing an illustration to compliment the message, a testimony from a missionary, or a promo for a special offering, the use of video opens up a wide variety of options for churches. Several online companies produce professional-quality videos for use in churches. While most of these companies charge a nominal fee, many also offer monthly freebies.
Some churches—including many multi-site churches—use their video capability to project a live feed of the speaker. This, of course, requires the addition of cameras and specialized software. But this has been a great solution for churches where visibility is an issue.
5. Displaying Scripture.
Pastors know that, other than the presence of God, the most important and the most powerful element of the worship service is Scripture. Scripture by definition is God’s revelation of Himself to humanity, and as such must be an integral part of any worship service.
In churches that have a specific time for Scripture reading during the service, the passage can be projected for the congregation to follow along. Some worship leaders project Scripture verses during interludes in the music. Others display Scripture during the offertory or while a soloist sings. Finding ways to integrate Scripture into the service—whether it is verbally read or not—will have an impact on the congregation.
Throughout the centuries—from the printing press to the mimeograph—the Christian Church has made use of technology to enhance its ministry and worship. The innovative use of video projection to enrich the worship service is a continuation of this tradition.