Read this before you “iPreside”

Hey, church geeks. If you’ve got a new iPad or similar tech gizmo, have you considered using it in church? Think carefully. I’ve preached once using my iPad instead of a conventional paper text. One person said I “seemed distracted” but others said they didn’t even notice. Generally, it was fine. I’ll do it again, because it saves paper and page rustling. If needed, I’m willing to wing it were the iPad to choke.

Presiding is another story. Here’s the story of a wedding officiant who had a rough go of it. Never mind the fact that the officiant was a do-it-yourself “clergy” person. It could have happened to anyone.

The service started well enough as you can see in the picture. Everything was happy until midway through the service when the temperature warning went off and the iPad said, “the iPad is overheating and will need to cool down. Oh, and you’re totally screwed.”

I’d be reluctant to preside using an iPad in most situations. People should not be distracted by noticing the whiz-bang gizmo. Preaching seemed OK to me because the iPad was mostly concealed by the pulpit. Once the “wow” factor goes away, I think it would be to preside with a tech toy. In some congregations, it’s probably OK already.

There would be significant advantages, especially if there was good software for the job. One could assemble everything for the service and have it ready, in order. Dedicating vestments or commissioning vestry members wouldn’t require a different book. If you’re singing things from EOW, LEVAS, and the Hymnal 1982, you could have it all right there.

What do you think, dear reader? If you’re a priest, would you consider using a high-tech gizmo in liturgy? If you’re someone who usually sits in a pew, would you want your priest to be looking at a screen instead of a book?

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3 Responses

  1. Bob Chapman says:

    (This link is for technical Luddites, such as me. Church Publishing has versions for your favorite electronic tool.)

  2. Bob Chapman says:

    Actually, I was wrong. Church Publishing does NOT have an iPhone or iPad version. Or Android.

  3. I still think that preaching without notes is the best way. Storytelling remains the most captivating form of communication.

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