The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 9, 2011

the latest toys — Send a message

Technology continues to play major role in churches today

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — Some of Enid’s larger churches are integrating the use of video and audio technology in services to better reach their parishioners.

Oakwood Christian Church worship minister Alan Gloor said the church is undergoing a project to install intelligent lighting and projectors for the use of high definition video in services.

“We use technology to set a mood through lighting,” he said. “We use it to help convey messages through video and audio. We use music to inspire and encourage.”

Gloor said one reason for incorporating technology into services is to encourage youth participation.

“We had an 8-year-old girl come into the sanctuary to look at it,” he said of the church’s project. “She was so encouraged and fired up about the idea of the lighting and how cool it is.”

Gloor said the church does a “blended service,” which incorporates music with the services.

“We do music based on the services, not based on any preferences,” he said. “Worship’s not about us or our personal tastes and preferences.”

He said the church also uses screen image magnification to project images an entire congregation can see. Service attendance averages about 450 people, Gloor said, and some of the technology is used just to reach all of those attending the service.

“The thing I’ve noticed is that video is probably the biggest technology churches need to invest in,” Gloor said. “With video you add visuals, you add music that can help with communication. Really, everywhere we use video.”

At Emmanuel Baptist Church, pastor Ted Kuschel’s services are enhanced through use of projectors and speakers and are broadcast online and on PEGASYS.

Kuschel said there are four projectors and four cameras, three with operators and one controlled with a joystick, used during services. Video taken during the service can be projected on the screen and also in the church foyer.

“We just didn’t want the latest toys because other churches are doing it,” Kuschel said. “We wanted to be able to project words on the screen, words for congregational singings, pictures and graphics to make announcements or sermon outlines or maps.”

He said the church uses the technology to communicate with its members, between 1,200 and 1,300 throughout two services, and to ensure all of those attending are involved.

Image magnification is used to help all see the same scripture or for congregational singing, as well as to see the facial expressions of speakers.

“It’s to help make the message clearer. It’s nicer for congregational singing to have people with their heads lifted up and singing,” he said. “Another reason we wanted this system is to be able to get the message, the good news of the gospel, out to our homebound people.”

Kuschel said  Sunday service is broadcast twice a week on PEGASYS, channel 11 and 12. The previous week’s Sunday sermon is broadcast Tuesdays at  9 p.m. and Thursdays at 3 p.m.

He said the use of the projectors and screens helps solidify the messages given during services. He said an audio message that is reinforced with a visual representation is better retained.

Microphones are also used to project through a speaker cluster in the church. Another system used allows those who are hard of hearing to use a small remote system that links to earphone speakers.

Kuschel said another reason for the design of Emmanuel’s technology is so the church can webcast its sermons.

“We stream live every Sunday morning at 11 a.m.,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of former members who have remained loyal to the church.”

Visitors to www.emmanuelenid.org can also view archived services stored online or view the streaming services on Sunday.

Kuschel said it takes a staff of nine to run all of the cameras and systems the church uses to reach it’s congregation.

“These are really dedicated people. I’ve got regulars every Sunday that are there for both services in the auditorium,” he said. “They are really capable volunteers. They’re really capable and enthusiastic volunteers. I love them.”