I have worked with dozens of churches desiring to expand their ministry into the realm of media.
Many of those with whom I have consulted have been concerned about which projector to purchase or which software to implement. My job as a “media missionary” is to help churches avoid costly mistakes. I enjoy solving technical and budget challenges, but these concerns are trivial in my opinion. The biggest blunder that churches make over and over again has nothing to do with ANSI lumens or computer processing power. The problem is lack of vision and/or neglecting to communicate that vision.
The church’s awareness of a new media system is usually limited to fundraising. There is a higher purpose to using media that, in most cases, is never explained to church members. One of the biggest reasons that media ministries are often ineffectual is because the church leadership does not recognize the importance and power of using media as an integral tool of communication. Many see media as merely a trend or just an enhancement to a worship facility.
Since the leadership has no real vision for the media ministry, there is nothing to convey to the congregation in terms of goals or benefits. In this case, media is relegated to a mechanical task, such as printing a bulletin; and the projector becomes nothing more than a copy machine.
Without vision a media ministry is impotent. In order to help both leadership and church members catch a vision to use effectively use media, I have taken the liberty of writing a short sequel to one of Jesus’ most popular parables. Once a pastor or church leader has taken hold of the vision, this presentation is a great way to introduce the concept to the church. I guarantee that this new and exciting avenue for communicating the Word of God will spark an enthusiasm among church members. When the church understands the potential of media they will put their talents to use. Then, just watch it go!
The Sower and the Seed, Part II
There were two farmers who lived in a valley. The soil there was rich and fertile.
The ground almost begged for seed. Each farmer planted the same seed in their fields. Yes, it was the same seed, but each farmer used a different method of planting, cultivating and harvesting their crops.
The first farmer did some research and discovered the most effective techniques for growing a crop. The costs were higher, some learning was involved and an amount of risk was taken.
The other farmer saw no need for fangled machines and fancy equipment. He had been using his old push plow for years and it seemed to work just fine.
When harvest time came around both farmers yielded a crop. But the farmer who took advantage of more productive farming techniques produced far more than the farmer who refused to give up his push plow.
Here’s what the parable means. The soil represents people who are ripe to receive Christ. The seed represents the unchanging message of salvation that Christ brought to us.
The farmer who used outdated farming techniques represents the church that is unwilling to seek out the best methods of communicating the Gospel. They still yield some results, but not nearly what they could.
And the farmer who used modern farming methods is the church that learns to communicate in a way that is relevant to their society. They connect with their community and make many disciples.
This is the kind of church that we want to become…