The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

March 31, 2013

Churches try different ways to spread the word

DANVILLE — As people fill the pews today for the greatest of Christian holy days, they’ll hear a message that’s stayed the same for centuries.

In some churches, that old message will be delivered through new technology. Other churches prefer a traditional style of delivery, while still others take a middle road between tradition and technology.

Whether the message is coming through a 10-foot television screen or by use of simple prayer books, church-goers across the area will celebrate the same event today — the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

High-tech tools

The Vineyard Church is an example of a church that uses a variety of technological devices to reach those who otherwise might not attend services.

“It broadens the reach of influence. Technology makes it (religion) more accessible,” said Jay Sorrell, campus pastor at the Danville site.

The Vineyard is a multi-site church, with the main campus in Urbana.

When a visitor enters the building on Poolside Drive, he can watch a looping message about the church on a flat-screen TV; pamphlets at each side of the screen spell out the church beliefs.

On most Sundays, the congregation watches a videotaped program on a 10-foot screen, while TVs on each side supplement the message with Biblical passages or other words.

The 30-minute message is recorded in Urbana, and an MP4 file is sent through the computer Saturday night for use the next morning. That one message reaches about 3,000 people at the five campuses. In Danville, the two Sunday services attract a total of more than 250 people.

“We like the small church feel. We’re a small church with the resources of 3,000,” he said.

About once a month, Sorrell delivers the message himself, in person, to the crowd.

About 80 percent of the teaching comes via video, while 20 percent is live teaching. Sometimes, a minister from Urbana will come to Danville to record the video here.

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