Feb 01, 2013 (Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
David Tooley always watches worship services at Hillvue Heights Church from the technical room.
"You get a different perspective. ... If you only see it from back here, it can feel like it's just a production, but it's so much more than that," he said.
Tooley is pastor of media and technology at Hillvue and is in charge of the church's technical ministry crew, which records each service and edits them to post online. The group, which includes four staff members and about 40 rotating volunteers, also ensure the big-screen TVs in the worship center display what's happening during services for those in attendance.
"We want everybody to feel like they have a front-row seat," Tooley said.
Hillvue is just one church in Bowling Green that uses recordings of services as an important ministry tool.
Living Hope Baptist Church has a group of volunteers in its technical ministry who record services and upload them online through Vimeo.
Dave Benz of Bowling Green is one of the 35 volunteers in the church's technical ministry. He believes in the church's mission and enjoys using his professional television and radio skills to serve the church.
"People are exposed to technology all day, every day," Benz said. "If the church falls behind that, it's harder to communicate (with members)."
Tooley has always appreciated computers and technology. He said he likes using that interest to lead people to Jesus and writing the Bible on people's hearts.
"I love knowing that we can create a testimony that can help get people engaged," Tooley said.
People usually remember something better when they see it rather than just hear it, he said.
"It's true that a picture's worth a thousand words," Tooley said.
The work the technical ministry does adds an enduring record of the church and enhances what the congregation experiences, said Chris Dillingham, media technology assistant and webmaster at Hillvue.
"It's just a fun way to serve and it falls into what my talents are," he said.
Still, it can mean long hours for Dillingham on Sundays, as he works behind the scenes at each of the three services and then spends some time editing.
"I'm usually the first one here and the last one to leave," he said.
The Sunday service is usually posted online by Tuesday and gets about 100 views within the first month, Dillingham said. Though all three Sunday services are recorded, they are combined into one for the Web, using the best version of each part of the service.
At Living Hope, usually just the pastor's message is posted online, though if there was a baptism or other special event, that is included as well, said Jeremie Wade, the church's director of technology, Web and support. Typically, a service is posted just a couple of days later.
"It's not a long process," Wade said.
Eventually, he hopes to have live streaming of services online for members who aren't able to attend the service on a given Sunday. Those are generally the people who watch the online videos of the services.
"That way, they get the sense of what happened when they weren't there," Wade said.
In addition to making videos of services available online, Hillvue also sells recordings of services on DVD.
"Since it is a ministry tool, we want to make sure it gets in people's hands," Dillingham said.
Though working on the technical crew can be demanding, he enjoys his work and likes seeing when people are touched by the videos.
"Those are the moments it's all worth it," Dillingham said.
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