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The technology and music of MMC

Ryan Smith leads worship at the 2010 Missional Ministry Conference.

Ryan Smith leads worship at the 2010 Missional Ministry Conference.

NORMAN—The Missional Ministry Conference (MMC) aims to help churches develop a missional approach to evangelism. Unforgettable speakers came together to share their knowledge with church leaders from across Oklahoma and to aid their ministry efforts.

Behind the scenes, however, a great deal of planning and effort went into creating a quality worship environment. A lineup of experts used a variety of methods, disciplines and technologies to make this happen. But, the good news is, churches can use some of these tools in effective ways without spending a lot of money. Marcus Wehmuller, electronic media strategist at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, said, “The cost of quality technology has dropped significantly over the last several years. Churches, even very small churches, can do more for less money.”

Online video, podcasts and social media are a few inexpensive and easy ways for a church to have an effective web presence. But, the Internet, technology and even the music take a back seat to focused God-centered worship.
The Ryan Smith Band led MMC worship again this year. It is important to know that songs were not selected because they hit the Christian Top 40.

“Our criteria for MMC was that each song would be Bible-saturated, theologically rich, went along with the topics and vision of each session and was a good fit for our band,” said Smith, worship leader at Stillwater, Eagle Heights.

His talents are in contemporary worship, but he acknowledges that it isn’t always the best option.
“Be a student of the Bible, your church and the culture and use these influences to make the most out of the talent and time you have,” he said.

Finding talent can be difficult, but Smith said, “churches should focus on people who are teachable, not just talented.” Musicians need to be open to doing things a different way.

Churches are concerned that their worship time is genuine, focusing on God rather than a performance. Kyle Thomas, founder of Thomas Productions, said, “Technology is available to enhance worship and ministry. It doesn’t have to be a show, it can be a resource to reach others.”

Thomas and his team provided audio/video delivery at MMC. When he works with churches, he works to ensure needs are met without breaking the bank.

“In our consulting experience, many churches treat their tech as an afterthought or think it is too expensive an investment. But, there are lots of small details that can drastically improve a worship service,” he stressed.

Many free and easily accessible means of promotion were used for promotion of the MMC this year. Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube all played a role.

Wehmuller said, “People go to the Web to find detailed information. Churches need that kind of presence to let potential visitors and members know what to expect.”

Kaley McCoy sings during a worship session.

Kaley McCoy sings during a worship session.

At Eagle Heights, Smith produces podcasts of sermons and pastor interviews to be heard by church members and the surrounding community. These are also a great way to stay in touch with church members.

Live web streaming, visual media, music, podcasting and social media are some of the tools used to make the MMC a success. Hopefully, churches can take this information as a starting point to unlocking the potential of these easily accessible tools for the Gospel. Remember what Smith says, “It’s all for the praise of His glory. As long as He is at the center, then we are doing what we are called to do. The methods are just icing.”

For more information about the people and technologies featured in this article visit www.missionalministry.net; www.thomas-productions.com; www.eagleheights.com or www.baptistmessenger.com.

Ben Ehrlich is accounts manager for
The Baptist Messenger.

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