We’re in the Lenten season, preparing our hearts and minds for Easter Sunday and all that the holiday represents in our faith and culture. We once were dead, but now we are alive!
I’m fairly sure that every corps officer in the South has at least put some level of contemplation into what their Easter service will look like, or at least how the service will flow, what the members of their congregation will hear and perhaps how they want to make the congregation feel. But visually? Alas, many corps officers haven’t thought about what is seen throughout the service in the way of graphics.
It’s no one’s fault, really. Graphics have long been overlooked in The Salvation Army, and one could argue in the Church at large – though, some larger churches really have that aspect of worship covered.
Gasp. “Are you suggesting that graphics have anything to do with worship?” In a word, yes. Call me new age, call me naïve, but I believe God gave us humans the sense of sight for a reason. It’s not his style to do otherwise. And I believe whole-heartedly that if he wants us to worship him with everything, our eyesight needs to be involved as well. Certainly we can honor God with what we watch on TV or what sites we look up on the Internet. Those things do involve our eyes, after all. But in a worship service, what role do graphics need to play?
This article is by no means meant to be a comprehensive view on the use of graphics in worship, nor is it meant to be a comprehensive view on visual worship in general. But I want you to begin to think about, just how important the graphics used on a Sunday morning really are.
We learn in school by repetition. The teacher doesn’t tell us things once or in one way. He or she, if he or she is good, will use a myriad of sensory exercises to teach a given topic. One way to reiterate a topic is to have one’s visuals match one’s verbal statements.
Let’s apply this: Your theme is, for instance, “Walking the Road of Easter.” You’ve got a great message planned out and you know what you’re going to say. You’ve gathered songs and Scripture, and even a drama presentation to support your theme. You set the lighting, you redecorate the Holiness table—all in hopes of bringing people to a place visually where they can prepare their hearts and minds to receive God’s message. Great, but what about the graphics? From bulletin covers to backgrounds on the screen, you’re missing a huge opportunity to re-emphasize your theme if you haven’t utilized these outlets.
But you’re not gifted in graphic creation, you say. Well, just take a look at a little site called Ministry Toolkit – it’s filled with hundreds of graphics for Sunday morning use. I know, I know: “But I don’t know how to use it,” “I lost my log-in info,” “It’s too difficult to search.” Let’s debunk the rumors now. Yes, MTK has more than just graphics, but our graphics are produced and uploaded to MTK most regularly. No, you do not need to create an MTK account in order to download graphics. Yes, you can get to all the Sunday graphics by clicking on a single image on the homepage labeled “Sunday Visuals.”
Let me take the time to remind you of MTK’s fabulous Easter resources. As we speak, there are nine different background sets for nine different services throughout Holy Week. Douglas McClure from Albany, Ga., has crafted the devotional and sermon material for this series, and those items can be downloaded from Ministry Toolkit. Anyone with access to the Internet can acquire those resources.
Let’s use the eyes God has given us, and use them well, by re-emphasizing our themes with graphics and backgrounds from the Ministry Toolkit. Check out this year’s Easter series on MTK by clicking “view all” under the Featured section on the homepage. (www.tsamtk.org)
By Lindsay Fleeman