We streamed our morning celebration today for the 5th week. (I know, most people would say church, or church service, or worship service, but I’m trying to figure out how to consistently communicate that church isn’t a place, it’s a people). Our son watched from home as he had to go to work early today, and my friend Connie watched from Austin, TX as she drank coffee and prepared for her own gathering.
As I was watching through the viewfinder, I started wondering how much I need to worry about the ragged edges of the stream.
1. Anyone stumbling onto our stream or even showing up through my weekly twitter announcement would have little context. There isn’t anything on the stream about who we are or what we believe or what we are trying to do or who those little people are.
2. We aren’t doing anything in the gathering to be more photogenic, more friendly to those who may watch.
3. Because this isn’t a program but is our normal Sunday gathering, it is a stream that may be politically-incorrect. It may need translation into real language (“What he means by sanctification is….”). It has “performance standards” that aren’t up to Broadway or Idol or even the larger churches in town.
4. We didn’t even have a slide on the ustream channel that told when we are having our stream (but you can see that I’ve fixed that at least).
I was starting to fret about this. I wrote a note to myself: “If I really believed that this tech stuff isn’t a toy but is a tool for talking WITH people about real lives, how seriously would I take mastering competence?”
And that’s a great question. And I don’t know the answer. How much do the ragged edges of production matter? How much is slickly-produced church a reason that people find church irrelevant to real life…which isn’t slickly produced at all? By having poured so much effort in trying to look professional at times, have we made it seem that church is as far from real life as a sitcom or a movie?
On the other hand, if we don’t attempt to translate the theological jargon into words that connect to real life, if we don’t figure out how to tell stories as well as Jesus did, if we don’t have enough respect for the viewer to get the best possible audio and video signal, aren’t we being rude?
So what do you think? What are the edges I/we need to think about trimming and which ones remind me that I am fully human and that’s the point?