Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Modernizing the Media of The Message

When I became the DCE of our church several years ago our pastor gave me a cartoon that I framed and put over my desk. The tagline read: "We were looking for a DCE with a D.Min and 5 years experience but we'll settle for someone with a minivan." That was me! I had the minivan.

One of the first things I did was throw out a decade's worth of accumulated Sunday School materials--including several feltboard sets. Those of you of a certain age will remember how Sunday School teachers in the misty days of yore put little cardboard figures on the feltboard as they told the Bible story for the day. It was a primitive audio-visual technique and yes, you youngsters found it very lame.

The next cutting edge technology was the overhead projector. At one time two of those things lived on the shelves in my office. One has since vanished and the other gathers dust.

Now we are trying to learn to expand the use of our computer technology, digital projectors, dvds etc to help us bring the message to our classes. We use a series of powerpoint presentations for our "potential new member" class on several subjects that I prepared. One of our Sunday School teachers was talking to me today about her plans to begin preparing her lessons for the high school class on powerpoint because she and the kids had become so accustomed to that format.

What's next? We have a computer lab at our school but so far have not tried to use it for Sunday School. I don't know of any curriculum you can purchase for children and youth that includes some computer work, but I bet we'll see some soon. Children as young as 3 and 4 are now using some simple programs. Recently I received curriculum by email that I had to save and download on disks so that the lessons could then be printed out.

Why not use blogging technology to encourage members of a Bible study to post and comment on the study in between meetings? I am planning to try to do that with a program we are planning to do this fall. One problem I see is that to make that work with the adults, I'll have to spend a little time explaining blogs and doing a little training with them. Maybe I'll get one of our teenagers to help me!

There are always those who worry that changing the way we tell the story will change the story. And we do need to be mindful of that concern. But isn't it exciting that now we have the means to fulfill St. Paul' s words:

But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for
" their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the end of the world."
Romans 10:18 NRSV

1 comment:

SpookyRach said...

Yay! Feltboards! I miss 'em. Terribly.