Saturday, December 11, 2010

Live Broadcasts from Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Churches

I'm compiling an index of churches that are live broadcasting services over the internet. If your church is broadcasting please send you the link and time.

Wednesday Services
11:00 AM PST Loma Linda University (Academic Year Only)

Friday Vespers


9:00 AM PST Loma Linda University (services at 9:00 and 11:45, study at 10:30)

Spanish

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Broadcasting Church: A Geek's Experience

A couple weeks ago I was walking through my church atrium and zing--pain shot through my lower back. I hobbled upstairs and lay down on the nearest bench. The pain subsided enough that I was able to fulfill my volunteer duties and return home. I lay down in my bed, pulled out my laptop computer and went to the church web site. From there I watched the service live.

Across this nation and the world there are millions of stories like mine. Except most of them don't end with the member being able to "attend" remotely. It's time that changed.

Broadcasting use to be difficult. It required bulky (and distracting) TV cameras and a staff of trained operators. The equipment was expensive and of course required a cooperative TV station. Thanks to internet streaming technology that is no longer the case.

At it's most basic level all you need is a laptop, a digital video camera, a free account on ustream.tv and at least one geek in your church. You don't even have to have a internet connection at the
church--simply save the video to your laptop's hard drive, take it home and stream it using a web cam simulator.

The great thing about internet broadcasting is that it scales. Your local church geek may already have most of the equipment needed to broadcast in a small church setting. If you are in a larger church the size adds new challenges--but you'll have the resources and probably a team of geeks available to meet them.

The first challenge in a large church is simply the size of the stage. If your church is anything like mine you'll need cameras that can zoom, pan and tilt.


In our church we installed three robotic cameras to capture different angles.











The video feed goes into a control room where the video is mixed and then uploaded to ustream.tv. They provide us with a video viewer component that we embed in our church web site. (Click here to see what it looks like.)

They also allow us to archive the stream so that members can catch up on missed sermons or review parts of the service they might want to see again. (Click here to see what that looks like.)

The audio at our church is a bit different. In addition to the typical sound system for years we
have broadcast an audio stream to WSMC radio. The station has a booth where the audio is
remixed for the radio audience. That same audio stream is fed to the video broadcast booth where a small mixer allows us to control overall levels.

The technology is very cool and a lot of fun, however, like anything technical it has no meaning outside of the human dimension. I find that broadcasting over the internet has four distinct and meaningful human elements.

First, it allows people with physical aliments to remain connected with their church.

Second it allows people that are geographically separated to remain connected. Since our church is connected to a church run university this is a huge part of our ministry. Once we got a call from a mother in California (we are located in Tennessee) who couldn't hear her son's cello because the audio on his microphone was off in the radio booth. If it weren't for the mistake we would never have known--but there are certainly dozens of family members tuning in to see their brother, sister, son, daughter or friend involved in a service.

Third, it allows individuals who are only marginally connected with the church to establish/make a stronger connection. For those of us who have been church members our entire lives we don't realize how intimidating it is for an "outsider" to walk through the door.

Lastly, broadcasting provides an opportunity for geeks young and old (there is a guy in his 70's on my team) to be involved in church activities.















One last word--don't expect massive immediate success just because you are on the internet. We get approximately 30 concurrent viewers in our church with a physical attendance of hundreds. It may seem small but for those 30 people it matters.

Broadcasting Church

A couple weeks ago I was walking through my church atrium and zing--pain shot through my lower back. I hobbled upstairs and lay down on the nearest bench. The pain subsided enough that I was able to fulfill my volunteer duties and return home. I lay down in my bed, pulled out my laptop computer and went to the church web site. From there I watched the service live that I was missing.

Across this nation and the world there are millions of stories like mine. Except most of them don't end like mine--with the member being able to "attend" remotely. It's time that
changed.

Broadcasting use to be difficult. It required bulky (and distracting) TV cameras and a staff of trained operators. The equipment was expensive and of course required a cooperative TV station. Thanks to internet streaming technology that is no longer the case.

At it's most basic level all you need is a laptop, a digital video camera, a free account on ustream.tv and at least one geek in your church. You don't even have to have a internet connection at the
church--simply save the
video to your laptop's hard drive, take it home and stream it from there using a web cam simulator.

The great thing about internet broadcasting is that it scales. Your local church geek may already have the equipment needed to broadcast in a small church setting. If you are in a larger church the size adds new challenges--but you'll have the resources and probably a team of geeks available to meet them.

The first challenge in a large church is simply the size of the stage. If your church is anything like mine you'll need cameras that can zoom, pan and tilt.


In our church we installed three robotic cameras to capture different angles.


The video feed goes into a control room where the video is mixed and then uploaded to ustream.tv. They provide us with a video viewer component that we embed in our church web site. (Click here to see what it looks like.) They also allow us to archive the stream so that members can catch up on missed sermons or review parts of the service they might want to see again. (Click here to see what that looks like.)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

20 Minutes of Church

Sitting in church one morning I became briefly obsessed with capturing the essence of the modern church service. So for the next 20 minutes I captured the following images on my cheap cell phone camera. Rather than seek out "interesting images" I limited myself to photos I could capture right from my seat. Below is the result of my photographic journey.


Ever since the days of the apostles, church has always been about people. "Let us not give up meeting together" the apostle Paul councils in Hebrews 10:25




















Naturally, social engagement is a big part of the church experience. Physical presence is apparently optional.





















Movement captures attention.




















This image captures something increasingly rare in church--the joy of discovery.




















The pause for the big decision--where to sit.




















In spite of the emphasis on activity in the modern participatory worship style, there is still a significant passive element.




















Juxtaposition of the old (stained glass) and the new (flood lighting)




















Large events generate (and require) tangible mementos and documents. Church is no different.





















Observing the service


















Saturday, January 3, 2009

Is Your Christian Institution Christian?

There is a lot of pressure on Christian institutions to be "successful" in a secular sense.

I recently drove by a large local church and school with a nearby playing field. A large sign (bigger than the church's sign) welcomed all to the "Home of the Seahawks". It made me wonder about the priorities of that school. Was this really a Christian school or a school that happened to be run by Christians?

A few minutes ago I randomly googled the word "adventist". (Short term for the "Seventh-Day Adventist" denomination to which I belong) High in the results list was the web site of the university I attended. This was no accident. For years the leadership of the school has successfully resisted sliding into a secular definition of success. The results for the University and the church have been markedly successful as the school has spawned large numbers of missionaries and church workers.

As Christians we must make certain to identify success by our religious mission and not be distracted by the identities of the world. Otherwise we risk becoming shabby clones of what the world already offers.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

An Easter Tribute

Yesterday, I had the privilege of being in the cast of the Easter pageant held yearly on the campus of Southern Adventist University. The several hundred actors make the biblical story come to life for the more than 10,000 visitors that attend each year. Here are some images I snapped while "out of character".




Marketplace SellerTypical marketplace scene


The last supper


Preparing to Leave for the GardenPreparing to leave for the garden


In the GardenIn the garden


At Pilates JudgmentAt pilot's judgment hall


The MobThe mob


CondemnedCondemned


Simon Caries the CrossSimon carries the cross that the beaten Jesus was too weak to carry


Roman SoldierA roman guard


Nailed to the CrossNailed to the cross. It was brutal, but Christ chose to go through with it--for us.


Three CrossesThree crosses


Removing the BodyTaking down the body for burial


He Has RisenHe has risen!


More Info
The Sonrise pageant is held yearly the day before Easter in Collegedale, Tennessee (A suburb of Chattanooga)
Info line: (423) 954-2220
Website: http://www.collegedalechurch.com/index.php?id=91