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Electronic Preaching

Technology & Preaching
Al Diestelkamp

(Editor's Note: The following short article appeared in the April-May-June issue of Think On These Things. It is reprinted here with the author's permission. This monthly column is designed to assist the preacher in his efforts to spread the gospel. One way to be of help is to warn of abuses. I commend the article to you.)

Technological advances have changed just about every aspect of our lives, including our expectations. Everything must be faster and more exciting.

All this "technophilia" has had an effect on our hearing the gospel preached. Our attention spans have been stunted! If a preacher doesn't have a colorful overhead transparancy to "wow" his listeners, he is likely to "lose" his audience.

Don't get me wrong! I'm not opposed to the use of well-planned visual aids. On the other hand, it is refreshing to occasionally hear a sermon that has been effectively delivered without visual stimulation. I hope we don't get to the point where we can't appreciate preachers like the apostle Paul, about whose speech some thought to be "contemptible" (2 Corinthians 10:10). He even admitted to being "untrained in speech" (2 Corinthains 11:6) but was still able to keep people's attention with his knowledge of the will of God.

We have seen the evolution of visual aids from blackboards, to "bedsheet" charts, to overhead projectors — and now — computer generated projection systems, allowing preachers to change the image from a computer. Preachers now have the potential of adding animation, special effects and even sound effects to their sermons.

At the risk of being called "technophobic," I hope that preachers will "display" moderation in the use of this new technology. Skill at creating a professional visual presentation is good, but it's a poor substitute for being — like eloquent Apollos — "mighty in the scriptures" (Acts 18:24).