General Ministry

As I write this I’m sitting in a coffee shop overhearing a conversation.  College students (or at least, college age people) have been talking in a group for about 30 minutes.  The discussion is about finding a church – what they like and what they don’t about churches in the area.  One of the most fascinating subjects discussed (it has all been fun to listen to and they don’t know I pastor a church) has been about ‘pastors that use media’ in the church services.  Specifically, they have mentioned both videos in sermons as well as in musical worship.

They are all, and I mean all, saying they don’t like it when “media” is used in church.

One girl just made the following statement: “My days are filled with media.  When I go to church I just want to listen to a message about scripture, learn, meditate and worship.”

Fascinating conversation to eavesdrop on, for sure.  And one that flies in the face of much of what many think is needed in our college ministries – or ministries in general.  Interesting, if you ask me.

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  • Mitch Sheahan says:

    Very interesting! Defies my assumptions as well… I’m going to watch this closely from here on out as it my be a new emergent trend in college/youth ministry! Thanks for sharing!

    • Chuck Bomar says:

      you’re welcome mitch. i did an experiment about 10 years ago in my college ministry and took everything out for about 6 months. i share about that experience in College Ministry 101 and, i think, College Ministry From Scratch. i may also share some additional thoughts here soon…

  • Joanna says:

    As a fairly recent graduate, I would tend to agree with their sentiment. Because I’m getting exposed to media all week, it gets second nature to zone it out a lot of the time. It is easy to unintentionally zone it out in church.

    About a year and a half ago I moved from a very contemporary church to a fairly traditional church (for reasons unrelated to style). It took a little while to get used to the dramatic style change, but after a while I found it refreshing to be in a setting with different rhythms and sounds and styles to what I come across all the time elsewhere.

  • Jay says:

    Very interesting and encouraging. Also, “flies” not “fly’s”. :)

  • ClaireElaine says:

    I was raised in a very traditional church environment: no drums in worship music, a little fill-in-the-blanks outline of the pastor’s sermon in the bulletin, and a hymnal instead of powerpoint. I always thought that was a little too staid for me. What’s wrong with drums in your worship music? And I’ve attended several different churches in the last 15 years especially, all with drums, most with powerpoint, and very few fill-in-the-blanks outlines. Now that we’ve moved, and we’re looking for a new church, I find myself craving the simplicity of a paper outline for when the pastor gets on a tangent and you’ve lost track of what exactly his point is (sometimes I don’t draw connections very well in my head), and a hymnal to read from.

    Another media I find myself tuning out is PowerPoint. It’s difficult to keep the words on screen in jive with the words we’re singing. And if the pastor uses the slides to help the congregation follow along, and he gets off on a tangent, is he on slide 3 or 6? And if he skips ahead and comes back, or uses a text not shown… It becomes more distracting than helpful. Bibles and hymnals in the pew backs or under the seats have gone out of fashion, but I don’t think it’s all a bad idea.

    But then, I remember attending church with my grandfather when I was little, and he commented, “Was a time when you had to bring your own Bible to church, and you shared with your neighbor!” So maybe new media isn’t all bad. :-)

  • Leah says:

    I go to a very traditional church that uses absolutely no media. When the college students are in town our church is literally standing room only. In a world that is so saturated with media, media silence is really powerful.

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