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Participation, Not Just Presentation

We must constantly evaluate how we use media to draw others into God's redemptive story.

We have two categories when it comes to our experience in a worship service: presentation or participation. Singing is participation; the sermon is presentation. Communion is participation; media is presentation. As worship leaders, we feel the burden of expectation to keep everything very balanced. Too much presentation and you create a "performance," but erring on the side of too many participatory elements leaves worship services feeling very one-dimensional.

Media pioneer William Bernbach was once quoted as saying, "In this very real world, good doesn't drive out evil. Evil doesn't drive out good. But the energetic displaces the passive." We are a people who crave engagement, who look for opportunities to enter into a story that's bigger than we are. Think of the best movie you've ever seen. My guess is that the power of experience wasn't simply in its presentation, but in the movie's ability to draw you into the plot and make it your story. Watching a movie that grabs hold of one's ...

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