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Resource Center

How to Use a Screen in Worship without Worshiping a Screen

Feb 15, 2016 9:00:00 AM


I love new things combined with old. I love seeing age-old ideas expressed in new viewpoints, common assumptions presented in innovative forms, and outdated principles rethought in fresh ways. Unsurprisingly, I love seeing the Gospel presented in compelling new ways.

Technology is nothing new!

Technology is nothing new. For centuries, the church has had to make decisions about whether new technology—from printed Bibles to email—hinders or helps a congregation’s faith. More recently, however, churches have faced the dilemma of whether or not placing a screen in the sanctuary is beneficial.

Naturally, there are endless lists of pros and cons regarding this topic. Some younger Christians contend that screens can make services more dynamic and interactive, while more traditional members insist they’re a distraction from the Gospel.

If you are thinking about whether or not using technology in your sanctuary is right for your church, read through this post to guide your decision.

Don't add a screen just to attract younger members

First, if your only reason for putting up a screen is to “attract younger members,” don’t put up a screen. Nailing a TV onto your wall won’t magically draw in millennials; too many churches put up a screen in an attempt to stay “relevant” with younger generations but fail to personally reach out to millennials. (If you want to learn more about ministering to millennials, check out our previous blog posts about reaching out to them and helping them avoid Biblical misunderstandings).

Why are you putting up a screen?

Next, ask yourself why you’re putting up a screen. Is it to aid older members who can’t read the small print in your bulletin? Play videos for a new sermon series? Display photos from a recent church event before the service? Save paper by printing fewer bulletins? Make sure your reasons are solid and substantial, not random and rushed.

Will it add value to your service?

If you’ve decided that you have legitimate reasons for putting up a screen in your sanctuary, you have to analyze whether or not it will add anything to your service. Will the screen just be an electronic bulletin? While it could potentially save money on printing bulletins, will members still take paper bulletins even though everything is on the screen? (I’m guilty of this.)

Or, will it allow you to incorporate a video series that your congregation needs to watch? My home congregation displays a weekly Advent video (about a minute or two long) before each service, and the videos give me goose bumps every week. I love it. Think critically about what a screen will add to your service.

Will it aid in worship or become an object of worship?

The Bible, as always, should guide your decision. Take, for instance, 1 Corinthians 10:23:

“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive.”

Ultimately, the decision comes down to whether or not technology becomes an object of worship, violating the first commandment. Yes, you can put a screen up in your church, but if it becomes more important than the Gospel, it is no longer positively serving your church.

If, however, a screen and projector will aid your church in sharing the Good News, then prayerfully consider using this technology in your worship services!

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Hannah Hansen

Written by Hannah Hansen

Hannah is a freelance writer and brand designer. She currently lives in Oceanside, California, where her husband serves as a pastor. When she’s not running along the coast, you’ll likely find her cooking new vegan recipes or browsing her local thrift store.