Chromecast, Bible Apps, and Resetting Preaching

I’ve long been enamored with the idea that the preaching/teaching of Bible and bible topics should be more interactive than what models are currently used. Even with those groups who employ text or Twitter questions during/after a sermon/lesson seem to get it, but not really pushing things as far as they ought to go. So, you can imagine the thoughts that went through my mind as I watched the latest Android/Chrome webcast from Google and one of the products released was the Chromecast.

The Chromecast is a USB-memory key-sized HDMI connector that connects to a WiFi network and allows for a TV (and perhaps a projector) to stream content from Netflix, YouTube, and other Google properties, however its all controlled by a mobile device (Android, iOS, ChromeOS, Windows, Mac OSX). For $35 USD, you get a pretty neat device that has the potential to disrupt the living room, as well as some methods of teaching that previously were in the hands of our a/v & IT staff only.

Now, here’s the immediate thought that I had that I shared with my friend at Olive Tree with whom I was speaking when this was announced:

psst, integrate Chromecast API into [the] Bible Study app and get rid of part of the IT team that makes sermons get on screen… make pastors more responsible for communicating clearly, thru a preferred app, and using mobile devices

So, let’s review what I just said there:

  • Using the API for Chromecast that Google’s made available, append an existing application that’s meant for studying
  • Divert the people and resources that designed and supported media-sharing interactions to other areas of the ministry
  • Make pastors/teachers responsible for coming to service/study with a Chromcast and host-controller device
  • Pastor/teacher doesn’t just teach the text, but also responsible for teaching how to interface through the app/service for spiritual gain

Essentially, disrupt the pulpit as we know it.

I don’t just think its possible – I’ve done it on a much more technical level – it’s time to do it.

When you make the presenter responsible for delivering the content from a shared network resource, then you open up the ability for everyone to use their personal device(s) for more than just consuming content. When you free up A/V and IT staff from paying attention to the quality of what you are putting through a pipe, they can get fed with the same stuff at the same time the rest of the community is – making the development of social skills “something we do as part of our DNA.” When you make the pastor/teacher empowered to teach the tech as well as the theology, they are less likely to see information technology as a support exercise, and more like the gift to the Body that it is – which can only be great for those in IT who want to be involved with evangelism, missions, etc, but are looking for the theology to catch up with the tech.

When we look at what’s now and what’s possible, these are the kinds of questions and approaches we should be asking. And then not just asking, but putting into practice, even on a small scale. If the application/service developer can put it into the product, we can ask is it possible that this can have a needed/positive/negative effect towards ministry practices. And we do experiment… often. So that we can answer the better question of “what happens at the intersection of faith and tech” – and if we are a signpost when people get there, or a part of the street that’s long been ignored for something else that makes a louder noise when crashed into.