ECHO CONFERENCE: DAY 2, PART 3

Screen shot 2013-07-24 at 3.06.52 PMDay 2 of the Echo Conference at Watermark Church. Went up with three Bethel staffer (communications, family/downtown campus and worship/downtown campus). Since there’s so much stuff packed into a the days, breaking up the blogging into sections is the only way to go.
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A disclaimer: I have a lot of objections against “environmental projection” and almost every one of them is from a local church context. While I think some of my objections probably hold up on a larger, global perspective, I don’t think environmental projection is evil or even categorically bad.

At the lunch break, however, one of the Bethel guys said something that hit me. His point was that for spaces like our Downtown Campus, environmental projection would be valuable because we’re so short on room. Since one of our spaces has to be children’s ministry for one hour, then Bible study the next, then coffee shop over the weekend, lighting is really the easiest way of “designing” a multi-purpose room.

2013-07-25 13.42.03I was so intrigued that I opted to attend the “Environmental Projection” class. Anybody else surprised? (I was.)

To start the class, the session leader asked the crowd if they wanted to talk about EP philosophically or practically? Did we want to know the “why” or the “how.” This is what I was looking for! Because my concern is that this sort of lighting and motion are potentially distracting, the “why” is very important to me. I looked around, ready for the class.

And then everybody yelled, “HOW!”

Dangit.

It was informative, to be honest. Hearing the speaker explain the way this art form came to be and how it’s developed over the past five years was extremely interesting. But it still poses tremendous challenges.

But I started turning off when the dude start talking cost. For years, I’ve heard that Environmental Projection isn’t expensive and that it’s easy to do. And here is where the church subculture kills me. When did we start assuming that $5,000 isn’t expensive? For literally thousands of churches in the world (and this country) $5000 is unbelievably, almost offensively expensive. I’m not trying to rant here, but this conference has made little-to-no-room for consider the small church. Now, you may say that small churches shouldn’t go to the Echo Conference. Maybe not. But they do and now you’ve got a church van full of volunteers driving home either hacked off or sad.

You know, I’m one of those guys who go back to my church and probably get $5000 for something like this. It might take a couple of strong arguments, but I could do it. But would that $5000 do more good somewhere else? In my church, absolutely.

Me, slowly getting more stressed out by the Environmental Projection class.

Me, slowly getting more stressed out by the Environmental Projection class.

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2 comments

  1. Bob Whitton

    I’m with you. $5000 is a lot. Especially for a small church. Another question, where do you draw the line between relevant and excess? Will God move without EP? And like your last question, would that $5000 be used better somewhere else in my church? Maybe I’m getting old but that money could do a lot to help out a family or meals for someone. But I guess it’s all case by case, church by church. Maybe I’m just a grumpy old 36 year old.

  2. Johnny Simmons

    I’m all for beautifying the worship environment, and making it look like a CHURCH, but projections like that feel sorta gnostic to me. And 5K is a lot of money to spend on phantom Church furnishings. It would buy a lot of real things.

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