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Background Story

February 2, 2012

(This article also appears on WHMG.TV under the heading of Technology That Inspires (http://www.whmg.tv/inspirational/technology-that-inspires)

I have had the privilege of working with technology in churches for almost 2 decades.(During that time) I have seen changes from simple Microsoft PowerPoint presentation  being the multimedia highlight of the worship day to churches using giant screens and multi level stage lighting during praise and worship before a sermon begins.

With the advent of larger churches and more worship services being held in convention centers and stadiums it is not just the audio systems that are getting the big budget dollars; there has been increased attention being given to providing excellent video systems and visual enhancements for a church service. In my opinion those improvements have helped promote what I feel is the major technological advancement in the past 20 years, at least in houses of worship, and that is streaming video.

I remember moving from tape ministry to CD due to better technology. That advancement created faster turnaround time and the ability to do post-editing and then transfer to media in better than real time. That same technological leap had an even greater effect when moving from VHS to DVD as we now had the ability to create chapters, menus and bonus material. Packaging and duplication costs went down and Media Distribution Ministries began to be more effective and even profitable in some cases. However, when streaming became available it opened up a new world for churches.

When I first with streaming media we started out with an audio stream of the worship services and special events. Later we added music around the clock and even had an early morning radio program. We had radio hosts and poetry programs that allowed various church members to get involved on a weekly basis and we had actual listeners. Our most popular program was a call-in discussion program of our weekly church lesson. Streaming audio became a way to connect former church member as well as people who had never set foot in the church sanctuary to share in our services; but when we were able to stream video it opened us up to a new way to minister.

At that time network connections were not very good. Bandwidth was at a premium but our church was able to pilot a new offering from our local Telco (Time Warner) and purchase bonded T1s for our network and phone connections. This gave us enough bandwidth with the promised that only a guaranteed connection could give us which was far beyond what DSL was offering at the time.

By streaming video we connected with former military member who had moved to other countries. We even received a letter from a family whose daughter had moved to the East Coast for continued education. The family was concerned about her daughter’s spiritual walk and was overjoyed to tune in to our video stream and see their child in the audience thousands of miles away!

Now many more churches are streaming video and each church has their own testimony about how streaming has impacted their organization. Churches can now receive donations and offering from all corners of the globe because of the advances in technology. Sick and shut-in members don’t have to rely on a week(or more) old message, they can see the service live from the comfort of their home.

Technology is just a tool but any tool can be used to help spread the. At one time the printing press brought the Bible to many people who could previously not get it. Now social media sites are allowing instant discussions on various texts of scripture.

Each month we hope to have an article on a new app, website or technology that is helping us spread God’s Good News to any and all that will receive it. If you have an app, website, technology or even a story about a technology that has inspired your walk with God, send us an email or post in our comments section. We hope to hear from you soon.

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