Visual Media Technology in Christian Worship - Steven Koster

A THESIS Submitted to Michigan State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF ARTS Department of Telecommunication 2003

This study measures usage of visual media technology (VMT) by Christian churches in worship events in a limited geographical area. Nearly 60% of churches use some form of VMT, which appears to be part of a significant growth trend. Computer and video technology are used more than overheads and film, and far more likely to be used in the future. Protestants are much more likely to use VMT than Roman or Eastern traditions. Those who reject VMT generally cite tradition or budget as reasons, not theological issues or internal politics. Those who do integrate VMT do so for reasons of contemporary relevance and evangelical outreach. Pastors and small groups tend to lead integration. While budget is the highest obstacle to integration, it is the weakest motivation. Discussion of the overall appropriateness of VMT for worship is the least requested resource. The primary genre is text-based and the primary liturgical role is to encourage participation. The least intended role for VMT is to serve as a stand-alone worship leader. Media is usually prepared each week by less than five people in as many hours. Volunteer time is often, though not always, a key resource. More time or help is a commonly requested resource. Most practitioners are self-taught; experienced staff train others. Other training methods and resources are secondary. Most churches evaluate their VMT programs regularly, and consider VMT strongly integrated into worship, making it a defining force of how worship is performed in many churches.

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