Time for An Update

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Technology has a keen way of "updating" our life.  A new and better program, an updated version of an old application, or a new device has come into the marketplace and has found a use in the world of worship.  Or even a subscription to a website service geared toward making our life easier as worship leaders and planners so that we can concentrate on ministry and not on utilitarian things such as phone calls, emails, etc.

I know that we have talked about clouds, technology, worship planning, projection screens, microphones, etc. but I thought it would be good to check into our ever-changing world of technology and if we have moved on to a better or different method, process or device in worship itself or in worship planning.

For an example, one person who is a member of our congregation uses an IPAD for worship.  The order of worship is sent to her in a PDF file.  In the file,  the order of worship has the all the songs (with music), scripture texts, litanies, etc.  This is so that this person does not have to shuffle multiple books, etc. during worship since it is difficult for her to use books and be in a wheelchair.  The PDF file is read through her ibooks app on her IPAD and can be brought up like any other "book" in her library.  It is sent to her via email and can be downloaded from there.  

By the way, we don't have a projection screen in our worship space at this time.  Even if we did have a screen, she would not be able to see it when people are standing in front of her, so it wouldn't help her in worship.

What new devices, programs, planning patterns, worship aids are you using or considering using in worship?  What brought you (or will bring you) to that decision?

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Google Docs/Drive has become a very helpful tool in worship planning. It literally lets everyone involved in planning worship work from the same page, instead of email editions flying back and forth.

I start by setting up a planning page, usually for a three month period of time. It looks like this: https://docs.google.com/document/d/16qCGi07QCR5udWt_sDoOGHJvssx5gFDAEyeb...

To set that up, you need to learn some things about how to give people access to a page. For instance, that one I just gave the link for I changed to "Anyone who has the link can see the page."

Then, on that page, some basic information can be entered once the calendar dates are filled in. Things like Pentecost, or Communion, Liturgical seasons, Sermon series and titles/texts or which worship team is leading etc can be noted in the main line, and scheduled accompanists or techs can be given a column. All worship planners and leaders have access to this page.

Then, on the far right of the page, after the basic Order of Service (OoS) is prepared -- also as a Google Doc -- a link to the OoW or OoS is put on the main planning page, and it is set to "Anyone with the link can see" but another step is taken to give anyone who might need to make changes to it the right to edit the page. That gets a little more complicated, and I won't explain here, I'm just sharing the concept.

So, for instance, the bulletin editor or church administrator or a deacon can add in what the offering is for, and the Worship leaders can pick the songs and add them in. They can even leave a note for the Pastor asking if the song fits. Or the Pastor can leave a question about preferring a song but not being sure if the congregation is familiar with it.  A short theme statement or paragraph of where the sermon looks like it will go can be put at the bottom of the page by the pastor so others can be 'on theme' with their songs, litanies, prayers or whatever they contribute.

Then, at the printing deadline, it can be printed, or moved into a projection system. I've now already had the experince of being at a practice with worship leaders and editing it together on a tablet right on the spot. Part of the beauty of it is that it is availble anywhere an internet connection can be made.

So that is the concept. In my last church it (along with educating people to help design the service) was a definite game changer.

One additional thing is that I am slowly building up a library of my favourite liturgical components (mostly from The Worship SourceBook, or adapted from it) on Google Docs, making it very easy to find them and add them into an OoW.