Skeptical about preaching from a screen, projecting images during your sermon, or otherwise incorporating new (ish) technologies in worship at your parish? Give this thoughtful detailed essay–complete with film clips–by the Rev. David Simmons a read.
Simmons says he was reluctant to introduce a screen into this church because he feared that staring at a screen would encourage passivity. But, he writes:
I had an epiphany last year at the Festival of Homiletics. There were many incredible preachers and moving sermons. Near the end of the conference, Brian McLaren preached. His sermon was excellent. It could have been given without any visual aids whatsoever. Icons dissolved on the screen to imprint a doctrinal point he was making. Pictures illustrated modern issues and mission. Single words or simple phrases emphasized important points. Video was used mainly for backgrounds to keep visual interest. I was mesmerized and wondered if this was what I was looking for…
Simmons and his parish made the leap, and now he is glad that they did.
What I have noticed is a discernible uptick in the number of people who say that they remember and think about the sermon the following week. It’s not that I have changed my sermons so much, but that I now provide visual keystones that help fix concepts in the hearers’ minds. Much as presentations help with teaching, they can help with preaching, which has a growing pedagogical element in our post-Christian culture.
In concluding his essay Simmons offers some solid practical advice on what makes a sermon accompanied by imagery work.
Would you feel comfortable giving a sermon accompanied by imagery? Would you be interested in having this practice introduced in your parish?