Often in any kind of gathering it is encouraged that people turn off their phones or at least leave them in a purse or pocket so they can pay attention to what is going on; but not in the Campbell River Baptist Church. In that church Pastor Jeff Germo starts his service by instructing parishioners to take out their smartphones or tablets, click on a link, and punch in a code. What happens next? They get an email asking them a question. That question is relevant to what the topic of the sermon is and is meant to connect them and involve them in it. The service is called Mentimeter and it is available at www.mentimeter.com
The results of the poll are displayed on large screens to be addressed as the sermon continues. It is an interactive way to engage in the lesson and to respond directly to the opinions of the congregation. It is a novel way to use the Swedish developed communication technology and smart devices in general which are so prevalent in today’s world.
Germo said the immediacy of the connection brings another spiritual element to the service through the technology. “I think it does help get the heart engaged,” he said. “It’s actually something visceral instead of just sitting there listening to a talking head. They’re involved in the process.”
Johnny Warstrom, Mentimeter’s chief executive officer, said the platform has 25 million users in 120 countries, but few are churches. The main users are communications agencies, global corporations and universities, he said in an interview from Stockholm.
Image from Stephen Philips on Google