Some of you may remember the implementation of worship lyric presentation as it happened from hymn books to the current video projection. While not terribly old yet, I too remember the beginnings of the process. After moving from hymn books to chorus books (those little books with just the words to more “contemporary” choruses printed in them) to overhead projectors and clear plastic lyric sheets, to powerpoint and beyond. Man those were the days leading worship with a wonderful volunteer crouching or sitting next to an overhead projector switching the clear plastic sheets on which someone had copied verses and choruses and all the wonderful call and response parts that formerly resided in neatly bound books. The only control you had over the look was to use neat fonts like comic sans to give it that cool and modern look – oh yeah you know you used it don’t lie. If you were hip enough to be able to afford color ink that would print onto these clear plastic sheets you could change the color between bridge and chorus. Or maybe you hand drew each one which was really the only way to create anything unique and visually interesting for more than a few seconds.
The church quickly began to employ the power of computers and powerpoint to give life and color to the lyrics and backgrounds for really the first time. It wasn’t long before the desire for a more spontaneous approach to the order in which lyrics were displayed (more non-linear rather than a set linear order and structure) and you saw the creation of certain plugins which led to basically the worship presentation choices we have today. We seem to now sit in a world of almost endless possibilities as far as how we display and present lyrics for the congregation to read in order to participate in worship. We currently employ the use of the recent phenomena of song tracks which give motion not only to the backgrounds but the lyrics as well. We’ve come a long long way from overhead projectors and clear plastic sheets. But where do we go from here? How in the world is there anything left to add to the way we present our worship lyrics (which also begs the question as to why employ these current and future technologies and ideas – but thats for another post)?
I was watching and episode from ChurchMediaDesign.tv on the Hologram Church. Now granted that particular episode had nothing really related to presentation of worship lyrics per say but I think it did without even knowing it. The episode focused on a new technology that allowed for venue churches to move from showing the pastor on a large screen to employing hologram technology to make it appear as if the pastor is standing on the stage. Basically moving a video feed of a pastor from two-dimensions to three-dimensions. Know my personal opinion on that idea is mixed. I mean I get it but as of right now it compares similar to the new advent of 3D movies that really just create a little bit more depth of field than the regular 2D version. I personally don’t see much difference in the two movies and would rather save my money than have minimal depth of field effect. Just the same I am not sure how different a 3D version of a TIVOed pastor would be from the 2D version but do understand the idea visually of looking at a Pastor that appears to be walking around on the stage in front of me versus a large screen where it is obvious that he is being piped in from somewhere else (once again that is a topic for further discussion at another time).
Here is how I foresee the technology being utilized by the church in the near or distant future as cost is the determining factor of time. Imagine seeing Fee take the stage and as they lead in worship the lyrics appear to be onstage with them, appearing to physically take up stage space. Imagine Fee being able to interact with those 3D and moving lyrics by walking in-between them, around them, and through them. Imagine those lyrics moving, changing, morphing, and becoming like set pieces that add to the worship experience. Imagine Chris Tomlin singing a song with the African Children’s Choir who appear to be on stage with him and the lyrics they are singing. I think the possibilities of this hologram technology have many more applications that just a virtually present pastor. Drama set pieces, three dimensional backdrops, sermon illustrations that interact with the preacher, the Gorillaz leading worship (ok a bit of a stretch but they are one of the pioneering groups of this technology), the sun rising behind 3D lyrics, 3D environmental projection and so many more applications that the future church can run with and employ to share God’s love in a new and powerful manner.
How do you see this hologram technology being used by the church? Does this seem too “out there” (remember drums seemed that way at one time as well)? If not hologram lyrics, where to you see worship lyric presentation going in future? Comment below.