I’m a tech guy. I’m sorry, but I love everything techie. My technology disease began when I first saw the Apple IIe in high school (Wow! That dates me!). In college, I hung out with guys that had real, live computers. I was thrilled to discover I could type my reports on PC’s. When the Mac came to the design department, I begged and pleaded to do my projects on the little jewel.
I embraced desktop publishing, Zip disks, the Internet, Palm Pilots, Facebook, and Twitter. I do most of my design and illustration on Macs. Yes, I guess I am a design and Mac geek. So I was excited when I had the opportunity to use techie bells-and-whistles in children’s ministry. Sometimes, it has been a wonderful tool. Other times, I’ve wondered if the Devil was in the digital details.
I’ve learned a few things along the way. If you have been hesitant to bring tech into children’s ministry, here are a few pointers…
First, realize you don’t have figure it out all by yourself. In fact, this could be a chance to get someone plugged in to children’s ministry that would otherwise think they have nothing to contribute. I’ve worked with many tech-savvy people that love to be in the background. Teaching may not be there strength, but they love to make things work and let someone else take the spotlight.
Take the opportunity to see how other churches do it. Find a church that is just a little larger than you and ask their head of children’s ministry if you can visit them during a service. Ask specifically how they use technology and if you could speak to the person in charge of it. If you can’t get away for a Sunday, check out your local school. If you haven’t been there for a while, you may be surprised how much technology has changed the classroom.
Second, invest in a good projector. You may be able to use your own laptop, or recruit a tech person that has theirs. You may be able to do without a soundboard, but a projector is a must. This will enable you to make the best use of a laptop or DVD player. If possible, have a professional mount it from the ceiling. I’ve learned from experience if it’s on a table, kids suddenly have the urge to play “Shadow Puppet Theater.”
Third, have a back-up plan. Things happen. Laptops crash, you forget the DVD disk at home or the power goes out. You can use technology as a great tool, but never use it as a crutch. Know your lesson well enough so if something happens, you can teach without the tech.
We live in a world where technology has changed the way schools, businesses and churches present material. If you take the time to see how others use it, you will have a nice tool in your children’s ministry arsenal.