From the Pastor
Communicating the Message
(Psalm 96/Romans 10:14 )
It can seem at times that technology is not our friend. Habitual smart-phone use has been linked to diminished cognitive function. Social media postings can promote hate and be a vehicle for bullying activity. The list goes on and on. But like so many other things, technology is in itself neither good nor bad. It simply amplifies the human behavior that puts it to use —for better or worse. Technological advances in the 15th century led to the use of the printing press and greatly impacted the Protestant Reformation for the better. Within our own church body, the radio has been a medium to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to many who would likely never have heard it otherwise (after World War II, for example, Lutheran Hour broadcasts made up the first commercial radio programming in Japan where laws legalizing private broadcasts had just been made). There is another form of media that was already impacting the way people of faith lived before the pandemic. Now, it has jumped into hyperdrive. I am referring, of course, to the Internet. Thanks to the relatively high comfort level with technology that so many people in the Research Triangle have, Resurrection Lutheran Church’s live stream of regular worship services, begun in March 2020, has reached a receptive audience. Our YouTube channel has over 500 subscribers. Even as folks are coming back to worship in person, our worship services continue to maintain a relatively high number of viewers. Best of all, the people who are coming to worship with us for the first time these days are almost entirely people who first got to know us through our worship live stream. It is difficult to overstate just how transformational this use of technology has been for our own church community…and how it has enabled us to connect with those who are not yet a part of our church community, bringing the Gospel of Christ to an even wider audience!
For that reason, over the next couple of months, church leadership will be examining the result of three bids from local companies for systems that would involve the installation of permanent cameras inside our main sanctuary and Family Life Center. This project also includes making streaming worship content available from other locations inside the church, such as the Fellowship Hall and the church Nursery. We plan to make a new part time staff hire that will allow one person to oversee the training and work of the tech team that uses this equipment. Until now, RLC staff have worked hard to make the live stream you see week after week a truly quality production, though they have had no special training in this field. As a result, there have been little up-front costs to the church. Our goal is to make the production of our church live stream even better and see that the equipment used for the live stream is as seamless with our existing worship space as it can possibly be. We will need your help! Though I cannot give you a dollar amount for what this will cost at this time, I encourage you to keep your eyes peeled and ears open for future announcements about this project. We intend to be as transparent as possible with the process so that you can feel that your own feedback is important to us. I would ask that you please keep me, the other members of your RLC staff, and your Church Council in your prayers as we deliberate where the Lord is leading us in this new undertaking.
Two passages that represent for me the promise of this technology for our church’s ministry are Psalm 96 and Romans 10:14. In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul writes about how important it is to HEAR the Word of God in order to believe it. “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (ESV). The proclaimed Word of God is the basis for faith… ours is a God who is never silent —but speaks! Whether facilitating the printed Word or the spoken Word via radio, or the Internet, technology is at its best when it allows the Word of God to be proclaimed freely everywhere. And since music and praise is also an important part of our worship life, I include Psalm 96: “Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! … Say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved!’” (96:7, 10; ESV). How humbling to know that not only through the RLC live stream, but through technology being used worldwide, as people come together to worship God the message of their hymns and songs is reverberating in places it was never heard before.
These are exciting times to be the Church. May God grant us His continued joy as we live out His call to follow where He leads….
Pastor Jonathan Blanke