A Picture’s Worth 1,000 Words

  • By Brad Meisburg
  • Director of Technology
  • February 6, 2015
As the AFUMC Director of Technology, one of my responsibilities is to evaluate best practices from other churches in the use of audio and video to enhance the church experience for members and guests alike. Over the last few years we have added things like digital signage flat screens in our hallways and video cameras in the Sanctuary to allow for recording plus transmission to overflow areas during Christmas and Easter. I'm told that these additions have helped communicate key information and have prevented us from having to turn anyone away once our Sanctuary is completely full. I'm thankful for the Technology Committee for advice on these solutions, especially John Ramminger, who has spent many hours helping me to design what best fits our needs. You may have noticed on a few Sundays in 2014, we used temporary video screens in the Sanctuary in order to honor our veterans on Patriotic Sunday, and also to give everyone a snapshot of the extremely successful Vacation Bible School. The feedback on the use of video was very positive -- essentially where a picture really was worth a 1,000 words. Many UMC churches of our size have begun using video in their traditional sanctuaries due to the fact that it can enhance the worship experience in such a positive way. Chamblee UMC invited us to come visit their installation, as they have a traditional sanctuary designed by the same architect, and it is very similar to AFUMC but without a balcony. Their congregation is very happy with the new capabilities, and we've learned a lot from the folks at Chamblee and other churches in the area. When not in use, the screens at Chamblee UMC retract and preserve the original look of their sanctuary. We are evaluating a similar scenario that could be an option for our Church Council to consider. Certainly change can be, and often is, uncomfortable. As we discuss and debate how to enhance our facilities, this becomes evident. If you study the history of worship, even the pipe organ wasn't used in worship until around the year 800 A.D., even though it had been invented centuries before. At that time, many believed that no music other than the human voice should be used in worship. A wise person once said, "Respect the past but don't live in it." Whether or not you think that the use of video in our Sanctuary is a good or bad idea, you can count on the fact that we are prayerfully considering ways to make sure that we continue to improve the worship experience, while preserving the Sanctuary that we've all grown to love. Feel free to send questions or comments to me at bmeisburg@afumc.org.