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Wednesday, February 15, 2012


We Lutheran Christians sometimes find ourselves caught between two conflicting aspects of our traditions. On the one hand, we have a reputation for being slow to accept change. On the other hand, we were among the first to embrace new technology for worship and Christian education. Luther put Gutenberg’s printing press to good use printing the first mass-produced Bible. Lutheran composer Johann Sebastian Bach helped make the pipe organ the voice of Lutheran worship music.

One of the new technologies that is increasingly being used for worship is projection screens. As with other innovations, there are some problems and objections to overcome.

One of the objections to using projection screens is that often all that is projected are the words. Another objection is that what’s on the screens often distracts from worship. A gorgeous scenic panorama on every slide can be distracting. And a third objection is that quite often, worshippers encounter projection screens at worship services that leave out much of the rich liturgical traditions of Lutheran worship practices. Those objections all have some truth to them, but projection slides for liturgical Lutheran worship can avoid those problems.

Using screens has some real advantages. We Lutherans all know about the challenges of the “Lutheran Shuffle”. That includes looking up the hymns, and marking them with pieces of paper, getting the bulletin insert ready with the Prayer of the Day, having places marked to flip to the Creed or the Order for Public Confession. If a congregation used two hymnals, such as the Lutheran Book of Worship and With One Voice, the confusion was increased. For first-time visitors, the “Lutheran Shuffle” can be daunting. One has to wonder how many first-time visitors didn’t become second-time visitors because the liturgy was too confusing to follow.

The church I’m a member of, Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, in Lawrenceville, Georgia, has figured out how to use projection screens to their best effect for traditional, liturgical Lutheran worship. I was blessed to have been able to take over the job of preparing the weekly slides for our worship. I’ve been preparing the weekly worship slides for almost a year now, as well as special slide sets for seasons like Lent.

I’ve also been looking for a way to earn a living, when I learned that many congregations didn’t have anyone who could prepare their worship slides for them. As I was taught many years ago, when God gives you a talent and shows you that people need that talent, that’s a call. I remembered Luke 10:7, “the laborer deserves to be paid”, so I decided to offer my services to any congregation that needs someone to prepare their slides for them.

You can find more information about this at my website, Liturgical Worship Slides.

George Erdner

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