Here's some great advice for churches that are considering adding a screen and projector. These tips come from Betsy Steele Halstead, Resource Specialist for Visual Arts for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.
- Make a commitment. This is a long term commitment that does not end with the purchase of the screen and projector. Projection should be considered an art form that requires time and energy to plan and implement into your worship services. Make sure the community understands this and wishes to add this ministry.
- Get more than one cost quote. Meet as a team with two vendors in your worship space. Hear what they suggest for your space. Each space is unique – depth (size of screen), width (number of screens), lighting (this is a big one!), and how you want to use projection (do you anticipate lots of video?) – all of these factors play into what type of equipment to choose.
- Be prepared to spend money. The cost does not end with the initial investment of the equipment. Additional costs include: projection software, replacement projection bulbs (maybe even the need for special equipment to do this if not in an easy location!), a digital hymnal (if desired), annual licenses to project, and quality art. Each require research and investment.
- Plan for additional staffing. This is important and something most churches don't think ahead on. Introducing technology to your worship should be seen as a new ministry, and to do it well, it needs a good person to oversee it. It can't just be a church secretary getting a power point ready every week if their time is already limited. It takes someone to think artistically and to use the screens to enhance the worship and the beauty of the worship space. It will take someone to work with the pastor and worship planning team so that the visual presentation is in sync with the rest of the service and is helpful to the congregation. Someone is needed to prepare the visual presentation each week, and to schedule and train people to run the technology. Don’t forget – this should be seen as a ministry.
- Don't expect too much. Adding a screen and projector will not solve your church's worship problems. Ask the bigger question of 'why' before moving forward.
The bio for Betsy (Elizabeth) Steele Halstead is found here.