I’m a “churched kid”. Raised in the church. Been going to church for as long as I’ve been alive. That said, I have grown tired of watching much of what is labeled as “Christian media” stay in the Stone Age as the modern world embraces media and technology and uses it to its fullest. Just had a conversation again today about “flannel graph” and how many in the Church are still convinced of it as a valid medium.
Tonight I took my small group of guys (7 of us total) to a presentation of Heaven’s Gates & Hell’s Flames at the local Assembly of God church. I had seen this presentation in my teen-years and even had the opportunity to be a part of the production while ministering in Indiana. It has been at least 4-years since I’d seen the production.
I went in tonight very curious – I wondered what advances would’ve been made in the technological-side of things. I wondered if the scenes portrayed the few times I’ve seen it would continue to be acted out in tonight’s performance.
#1. Nothing has changed technologically. They still show the same video clip segments that they showed the last time I saw the presentation.
#2. If I’m not mistaken, EVERYTHING tonight was exactly the same as we presented it four years ago.
I tend to watch these sorts of presentations with a critical-eye – watching and listening EVERYTHING to form my opinion about its usefulness and relevance in today’s culture.
Tonight I enjoyed the performance and reminisced a bit about being a part of the thing back in Indiana. What blew me away, however, was watching the response of people in the audience when the opportunity to make a first or re-commitment to Jesus Christ. In our service tonight, at least 50-people responded and came forward to make a public commitment to serve the Lord. Each of them was then ushered out of the room for a personal time of prayer and for the staff to get their information.
I was reminded of a few things tonight:
#1 – Not everyone else has been “spoiled” by stage-performances like Cirque Du Soleil, Blue Man Group, etc. My experiences in being blown away by technology, acting, etc., on stage is NOT what everyone else has experienced. Someone else there tonight was probably impressed that there was a smoke machine, while I reminisced about the days of having one in my youth room!
#2 – The Holy Spirit still works amongst D-list actors. No offense to the church family that presented HGHF tonight, but I’m pleased to know that God chooses to use people like ME to get His message across.
#3 – Some things DO still work. HGHF hasn’t been “updated” in 4-years (at least!) and yet it’s still being performed in churches across the world every week. The clips are old, the audio isn’t professional, the stage-design isn’t amazing… and yet, it still works. HGHF doesn’t use the latest technology to run the show, they don’t even have two projectors with the same lumen bulbs (at least it looked that way tonight), and yet people were still impacted by the ministry and responded to the Gospel.
I’m glad I went tonight. I’m really glad I took students with me. 4 of the 6 of my guys made recommitments tonight at the close of the service.
Praise the Lord!