Sunday, August 12, 2007

videoblogging and sermons 2

“Tonight made me want to read the Bible more.” That was a comment made to me after church on Sunday. What do all those who claim that emerging church is soft on the Bible do with that type of feedback, I wonder?

Some months ago I blogged about the possibility of using videoblogging in relation to sermons. Well here’s the first go, by the brave and innovative Iain McMahon, which went live at Digestion church service yesterday.

The theme for the service was “journey and promise.” It was part of 7 week series titled God’s big story. We have broken the Bible up around themes of


JOURNEY, PROMISE: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth

POWER + JUSTICE: 1+2 Samuel, 1+2 Kings, 1+2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, 12 micro:prophets (including Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi).

SONGS + SAYINGS: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiasties, Song of Songs, Lamentations

INTERTESTAMENTAL TIMES: what did happen in those centuries between the Old and New Testament

GOOD NEWS OF JESUS: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts

LETTERS OF LOVE: Romans, 1+2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1+2 Thessalonians, 1+2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1+2 Peter, 1+2+3 John, Jude, Revelation

I was down to do Journey and promise, and had wondered aloud to Iain if he wanted to have a go at “videologging” around that theme. So the sermon/content bit started with me spilling wine on a white tablecloth. It’s what the Jews do at Passover, to remind themselves that they were once enslaved. So that’s where the Biblical theme of journey starts. I then gave a brief thumbnail sketch of Israel’s journey from Egypt to nationhood, from Exodus to Ruth.

Iain then showed his “videolog”, which turned out to be a contemporary probing of the theme of journey and promise. As the music played on at the end of the “videolog” I laid bread, broken, on the winesoaked tablecloth and inviting those who needed bread for their journey today to eat.

Initial thoughts on videoblogging and sermons:
1. It went surprisingly well.
2. It allows a multi-sensory experience of music and image.
3. It allows a world outside church – in this case the environment of Christchurch and the stories of people – to become part of church.
4. It increases participation – both in the skills of videoblogging and in the voices of those who speak.
5. The use of editing allows spoken participation to be sharpened up.
6. It takes time, and demands a new set of skills – for example in this case lighting and sound quality. This will lead to an ever-increasing tension around time and professionalism.
7. In this case the videolog flowed really well. But it might not always and what then?
8. Iain did it for blog. That is vital. It suggests and accessiblity and suggests that our congregation includes the web. This suggests a whole lot of interactivity: a webspace where others can post their journeys, a space to share what spiritual practises sustain journey, a place to log complaints about communities who don’t welcome the stranger and practise hospitality …

Iain will have another go with Songs and sayings on August 26. It will be interesting to see if this is just an experiment, or if it actually allows some very different ways of engaging with Biblical text to emerge for us at Opawa. In the meantime, we have individuals off to read the Bible more, which is good and healthy fruit to see developing among young adults today.

Posted by steve at 10:57 PM


  1. I am really surprised no one has commented on this. What a great idea. I love it. It helps people learn from each other and takes the pressure off the pastor to provide insight and spiritual food, and this is a biblical thing. We should all be helping each other grow and this is a great way. I’d love to hear more and encourage you to keep pursuing this. All the best!!
    Also, what is Iain using for his filming and editing?

    Comment by wokboy — August 18, 2007 @ 4:12 pm

  2. thanks wokboy. i too am surprised, and disappointed, actually, that there has not been more comment on this. fascinating that the vid has been watched 66 times on youtube. me thinks this blog is too consumer orientated – more people happy to get, too few happy to give. it’s not what i hoped it would be …


    Comment by steve — August 18, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

  3. Hey all,
    Consumerism pretty much defines most web surfing, doesn’t it?
    Read-click-read, repeat.
    Obviously for my own sake I’d prefer more conversation, but if people are content passive viewing that’s cool!

    Wokboy, I used my Sanyo Xacti HD1a digital video camera to film, then edited on my PC using Windows Movie Maker. Nothing professional, but it does a better job than my current skills can utilise!

    Comment by Iain — August 20, 2007 @ 5:47 pm

  4. Iain wrote: “Consumerism pretty much defines most web surfing, doesn’t it?” But should the Kingdom bow to the idolatory of consumerism? I thought the web was about participation and interactivity, which sounds like Gods’ Kingdom actually, and certainly the Triune God. So why can that not be the defining motif of this blog?


    Comment by steve — August 21, 2007 @ 1:03 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.