What's Dave been up to the past few Sundays...

Well, I started off by attending some churches that I know some people who have come from or left. In order of date of attendance, that would be Foothills Alliance Church, Varsity Acres Presbyterian Church (of Canada - not the PCA). Following that, last Sunday I ended up at Calgary Community Reformed Church (that last church didn't really advertise any denominational affiliation, but turned out to be part of the RCA). Anyways, I've got some thoughts on the respective theologies of those denominations, but I don't really have all that much time to post on Rotundus about that now (... <insert comment about getting that done in detail sometime later>). Basically the short version of that is that the first seemed a bit loose, and the latter two somewhat too liberal.

What I wanted to comment about at the moment was the use of LCDs projectors in churches. I think that in many congregations, the usage of an LCD projector does really either add to or detract from anything. However, after attending the last church on the list above, I've come to the conclusion that a projector can be of great benefit. In the case of the last church on the list, there were a number of powerpoint slides to go along with the sermon. Basically, any time a reference to a text was made by the pastor, the corresponding text would appear on the projector (quite useful, and keeps you from getting lost if you decide that you want to look the thing up). Additionally, some of the other stuff that they used used the projector for there was essentially an extended outline of the sermon, point by point as the pastor went through it. Again, it was a form of visual reenforcement of what the pastor was talking about, and as such made the sermon a lot easier to concentrate on. Basically, I think that over the course of the past few weeks my position on projectors in the church has changed from a neutral one, to one that is definitely in favour (as long as it is used properly).


I've been thinking about LCD projectors in churches a little bit myself, off and on since the first time we talked about it. Indeed, it is very easy to use it incorrectly, but there are definitely some situations where it could be effective. Since you are getting a fair amount of experience with how churches are currently using LCD projectors, I think you should jot down whatever comes to mind and start drafting up some guidelines/standards for appropriate use.

Personally I have been investigating transcribing the lyrics for the Psalms and Hymns into PowerPoint. Some of the aspects I investigated:

  • Italics to indicate quarter notes versus half notes. The psalm section has this already, but the hymn section does not, and I've heard people lamenting this.
  • Hyphenating words to indicate the correspondence of notes to syllables. With a very small number of songs, I've encountered situations where some people (myself included) misinterpret a note as applying only to one syllable when in fact it applies to two.
  • As an alternative to hyphenation, which some people feel reduces readability, the usage of apostrophes to shorten two-syllable words down to one-syllable where the music intends there to only be one syllable.

Although most churches have Books of Praise in the pews, some do not, either because they haven't purchased any, or are worshipping in a building that is not their own. Some Books of Praise may be available in the foyer, but usually not enough for everybody. If a large number of visitors are present, I've seen it where some people are without a Book of Praise. Usually there is some sort of redistribution of Books of Praise such that they are next to someone they can share with, but on rare occasions they must rely on memory.

Another shortage-type situation is a congregational meeting where people are more likely to forget to bring a Book of Praise.

Outside of the worship service, an LCD projector is useful for audience participation at praise evenings, concerts, or Christmas carol-type events. In Aldergrove, we quite often use an overhead projector, which requires somebody to be up front changing the transparencies (sometimes me, as a few of you may have noticed). That particular overhead projector also suffers from a problem you all might remember where the top-left corner and surrounding area is more difficult to read. As I recall there was a solution to this problem whereby one could clean the lenses.

For more on technology in church, I figured that I'd point you to a book that seems related (I've had it on my "look for" list for a while, but I haven't yet read through it). Additionally, I figured that I'd point you towards a magazine put out by the Christian Reformed Church, called Reformed Worship. Some of the articles from the magazine that you can read on the website relate to this sort of topic.