More and more congregations seek church tech solutions to help them present the message, interact with their members and keep tabs on people’s needs. We talked about some of the problems people face and offer sensible church tech solutions in this week’s Theotek Podcast.
Our 4 Church Tech Solutions
We tackled four issues this week. The case of the dim projector, the need for ubiquitous Wi-Fi, the disappearing worship presentation computer (hidden in another room) and putting new tech into old wine skins (installing AV in an old sanctuary that has no good projection spot). Here’s the YouTube version of the podcast, which we hope you’ll watch and subscribe to. Then read the text version of our answers below. The audio version of our discussion of church tech solutions shows up at the bottom of this post.
Case of the Dim Projector
At my church we have projectors in the front and back, but occasionally they look a little dim. In our fellowship hall we have to turn out the lights to see any video, which always look darker than graphics. How does a church fix this problem without buying a new projector?
Avoid the problem in the first place by borrowing a projector to see how it looks
Use higher contrast images or brighter videos
Dim the windows or cover them up entirely
Stop using the projector if it’s really bad – this is more of a distraction than the media adds to the worship service
If you stop using it, then make any really needed images available in another form (paper, use an app like YouVersion Bible app or Proclaim from Logos that supports doing group presentations within the app instead of on a screen)
What would you suggest. Leave us a comment below or on the YouTube video above.
Need for Ubiquitous Wi-Fi
Churches increasingly offer free Wi-Fi to their church members. What’s the best option for getting the network throughout the church and how do you protect the church’s computers?
Install two networks to put a firewall between the public Wi-Fi and the private network. Some routers support this natively.
Use a power line Ethernet device to add a network access point to remote parts of the building. These turn your electrical power lines into network cables. Here’s an article on Engadget about some of the best options.
A great and powerful Wi-Fi solution that supports mesh networks (multiple access points showing up as once network) and public and private networks in one device is the Ubiquiti Networks Enterprise AP Unifi which costs about $65 for one.
A couple of our team suggested to not bother. Let people use their phones. That only works if people have access to good Internet at your church’s building location. Some churches are in pockets of poor coverage.
Remember to use something like OpenDNS filtering to keep young people safe and to keep people from using the network for porn or pirate software and media.
How does your church offer Wi-Fi to its members and what do people need to consider when allowing this?
The Case of the Disappearing Worship Computer
I sat in on a church media class at North Greenville University and one of the students went to a church that put their worship computer in a room behind the sanctuary so they couldn’t see the screens. I asked our team how to deal with this.
Move the computer into the sanctuary
If you can’t do the first one, then use remote control technology like Splashtop, which has an app that you install on a tablet to control the computer running the Splashtop Streamer app.
Some worship programs support remote control with an app installed on a phone or tablet. Examples include OpenLP.
Get a tablet like a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 which supports wireless display. Plug a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter into the projector(s) and use the tablet to wirelessly stream to the projector from the sanctuary making the computer superfluous.
If you keep the computer in the other room, make sure to rotate volunteers so that no one person has to miss being in the worship service every week. I thought there should always be someone at the computer, but others said it’s not necessary since the remote control solutions are pretty reliable and even if it does fail you can just shut them down and move on. I think that’s distracting so I’d always put someone on the computer. However,
Putting New Tech in Old Wine Skins
Some older church sanctuaries have no good place to install a projection system. There’s no blank wall or a screen would block a baptistery or some ornate decoration that members would hate to no longer see. How do you use presentation technology in a worship space that makes it nearly impossible to use heads up display projection?
The problem is a lot like the previous question about dim displays. Other than changing the way the media looks, just follow those tips for that problem with this one.
What church tech solutions do you have for our four problems and what problems do you see in your church’s technology? Answer below.
Dr. Kevin Purcell is pastor of High Peak Baptist Church, an author and writer at Church Tech Today (www.churchtechtoday.com). He used to write for a number of other Christian and secular technology and mobile tech sites. Now he's one of the hosts of the Theotek Podcast, which you can find by checking the menu above or over at www.facebook.com/theotekpodcast.