January 11, 2008

Review: 'Beyond the OHP', Jackie Sheppard, 2002.

Published by Spring Harvest, a national Christian umbrella organisation that runs huge festivals every Spring, this book can claim to be fairly authoritative.

The book is helpful in establishing what can be done, why it should be done, and examples of churches that have successfully implemented IT projects.  However, it is focused almost exclusively on 'Sunday morning' meetings and so its scope is relatively limited.

Almost all of the examples are taken from a select few large American churches, alienating much of the audience that a Spring Harvest book would have. Once the authors aims have been laid out, there is also very little holding back on promoting IT in churches. Maybe this approach was needed several years ago, but now many churches seem to have realised IT's potential, and a more balanced approach is necessary. 

Guidance is given on how to put together and work as a team operating the technology (including lighting, sound, and other technology not so related to my project) which is very useful as the author has extensive experience in this area. 

If you need to know what can be done with a wide range of technology, this book is very useful, however it is surprising how it is already feeling a little out of date just six years on. A new balanced approach would help, as would more innovative uses of technology in and out of the main church meetings. 

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