Ogilvie Institute's conference addressed challenges facing the church in a visual age
David Taylor and Barry Taylor lead a Q&A at the conference
The auditorium of Ecclesia Hollywood church’s historic
building echoed with the sounds of gospel music on November 2 as audience
members clapped, laughed, and cheered to Fuller Professor Ralph Watkins’s
lecture titled “Preaching to Viewers Who See More Than They Hear: Multi-Media
The lecture was part of the three-day Preaching in a Visual
Age Conference sponsored by the Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute of Preaching and
the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts. Dynamic speakers gave multimedia
presentations and audience-goers took rapid notes—mainly on laptops, tablets,
and smartphones, in true spirit of the conference.
This was the fourth semi-annual preaching conference
organized by the Ogilvie Institute, and the first to be held off campus.
“Preaching in a Visual Age was a tremendous success. Over
200 pastors, artists, and Christian leaders gathered to address some of the great challenges facing the church in
our time,” said Mark Finney, program manager at the Ogilvie Institute. Finney
estimated that roughly 280 people registered for the event.
included filmmakers Ralph Winter, Pete Docter, and Bobette Buster; theologians
Ralph Watkins, William Dyrness, David Taylor, Barry Taylor; and artists Brian
Moss, Elizabeth Steele Halstead, and John Chan.
were treated to lectures and smaller breakout groups where they could ask
questions of each speaker. Lectures explored everything from how pictures and
movies can tell stories to how to design and use slides in sermons.
conference presented people with some remarkable opportunities for reflection
and engagement,” Ogilvie Institute Director Mark Labberton said.
Graterol, an MDiv student at Fuller and chaplain at a Hispanic seminary,
brought a friend to the conference. She said the speakers gave her ideas for
her own ministry.
has opened my mind to see that we live in a world of visuals and we should use
them to make our preaching come alive and reach people who are attracted by
movies, telephones, and computer,” Graterol said. “If I can preach with those
elements, I think I can attract more people to my church.”
said that not many Spanish-speaking churches are using visual technology in
worship or preaching. She and other colleagues had discussed how they could get
this movement started in the Hispanic community.
student Nathan Lundren said he learned that preachers need to tell stories that
engage all the senses.
conference also included an art exhibit curated by SEEDS Fine Art Exhibits,
which supports churches and schools in using fine art in worship. The exhibit,
Finney said, provided further opportunities for attendees to reflect on the
integration of the Christian message with visual media.
was really delighted by our Preaching in a Visual Age conference,” Labberton
said. “The challenges of preaching in an image-shaped world is enormous and
many found considerable help as we continue to work on these issues and share
the gospel story.”