All entries for Monday 10 March 2008

March 10, 2008

Final post of the day

Just as I have now finished tidying up my project files on my computer, here is one last piece of interest...

This is a quote from Dave Holden (leader of New Community Church, Sidcup (S.E. London) and involved in leading the newfrontiers 'stream' of churches) when he spoke in a seminar at a national newfrontiers leaders conference in Brighton last summer - you can download the entire seminar recording here (this seminar is called 'The Holy Spirit and your church: Part 2'). The whole talk is pretty long, this quote comes from about 25 minutes into it.

We need to teach people to expect to encounter God... You can have ten old ladies... in a tin hut, without the latest modern music, without any PA, who can't even see the words on the screen at the front; and if they are glorifying Jesus, and they are encountering God, then its a far more meaningful moment than some great big super-duper meeting where we've got all the technology and we're singing all the songs but actually were not encountering the living God. So all our hours given over to technology has a massive big question mark over it actually. Because I don't despise it, but I just dont think its as important as some people think it is... What's really important is these few people, whoever they may be, are genuinely encountering God.
...Some of us have got to make just basic decisions about what we think is important & what isnt... It is not about having the meeting run well... I want it done as best we can, but I do want to make this the priority of our hearts.

As this is from a context of training church leaders (although in the broadest sense), this demonstrates the fact that IT use in some churches has now reached a point where a refocus is needed back to the true priority of church: God. 

Some interesting resources that I had lying around
From the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (who by the way commissioned Schultze's book).
Technology in Worship contains quotes from church leaders about how they 'do' technology in worship and there is also links to a survey on visual media in Christian worship - here's a summary of the survey
Article "How to: Use technology to aid you as a worship leader", on pages 12-13 in inside worship magazine (2007 Vineyard Music USA). Gives some wise tips on using & integrating technology into worship. Mentions a guy called David Ruis, who leads worship using all kinds of weird & wonderful technologies - old and new. He was leading some sessions at a national Christian festival (soul survivor) that I went to last summer with some of the guys from the Warwick Christian Union. I have to admit that I actually found it very difficult to engage with his style of worship. It is a perfect example of where technology can alienate members of the congregation (however apparently open-minded or open to technology they may be), while others respond better to it. At the end of the day, worship is about engaging to honour God (eg. singing his praises, speaking biblical truths) and encountering God (developing in relationship with him, hearing his voice/guidance) and so much more. (This is my own pretty feeble definition) 

But before I go off on too much of a tangent, I shall stop here as this is a Computer Science degree project blog, not somewhere to discuss theology... as much as I might like it to be ;-) For more along those lines, pop over to one of my favourite websites, worship central... or even pop into your local church... you might be surprised!

Presentation resources

First, thanks to those who came to my project presentation.

Here you can find some resources that I used in the presentation - 

Presentation slides (pdf)

Diagrams handout

High-tech Worship?, Schultze on

Beyond the OHP, Sheppard/Spring Harvest on

Some of the questions asked during the presentation were about whether my PSALM program could be used during a service. I would like to stress here that although it could be, only the main screen is designed for this - so the editors + song recommender are intended for use in preparing for a service. They could be adapted for use though, but because usually the lead worshipper (person leading the band) has their hands full with an instrument, it would be difficult to use any program. In my 'further work' section of the presentation I didnt have time to talk about input methods. It would be great to use a system similar to worshipsession, which uses a foot pedal to control just two functions - for example, 'display next song' & 'display previous song'. 

The problem with using PSALM mid-service only shares the same inherent problems with songbooks though, in that fiddling around trying to find the next song to play can be frustrating. I believe that PSALM is at least as good, if not better than songbooks though in that searching is much quicker and the thematic search especially makes this job easier. 

As to the issue of depending on (any) computer programs to aid running a church service/worship 'set', it is important to see PSALM as a songbook replacement and not more than it actually is. Lead worshippers should not, and generally don't, rely on their songbooks to decide the order of service, so musn't then do it with PSALM either! (Which may explain why I haven't designed PSALM's song recommender to be easy to use mid-service). 

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  • Congrats for ur final report,, I dinn have ne problem veiwing the report, its seems to be gud,, ..! … by Veda Informatics on this entry
  • By the way, if you have any problems with viewing the report, or in using PSALM, please still let me… by on this entry
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