NewSpring really knows how to do excellence! They were in a series called Family Vacations, another summer series. This one focused on families, of course, but they made it really fun. It was kid friendly...they had made a cartoon about a family planning for and getting ready to go on a vacation. It was VERY relevant. And neat, too. Like the bumper sticker on the car was from NewSpring, and video served as a neat transition to the Bible story about Cornelius from Acts 10.
Wow! The stage was a beach scene from some Caribbean island and it was incredible. The music was even 'tropical', too. They introduced us to 2 'families' the 'McEvilsons' and the 'Goodmans' and did a contest kind of thing, all wrapped in a drama of sorts. It was SOOOO creative and engaging. I was hooked from the start. The hostess did her part extremely well. She never talked about 'church', but rather the 'resort'. Everything was in character. And the hostess took us to the main theme quickly: God has a plan for my family.
The play was a little corny, and there was some video during a sing-along song that they got the crowd to stand up and sing to. THAT was when I realized that the kids were all in the auditorium together with their parents. Even preschoolers. The play would have totally kept the attention of the kids. The backgrounds for the songs were beach themes, the moving backgrounds were fish swimming, etc. Very cool. With the kids in mind, it really worked. The lesson it taught was excellent and would have been good for kids and parents alike.
A couple of things NewSpring didn't do that surprised me: 1) there was no countdown. If you didn't hit the play button on the page, it wouldn't take you to the live presentation. I didn't know that and nothing told me to do it. I finally figured it out and went to the service late.
Secondly, there was no chat room or online connection. I was simply watching, not participating in any way. I was a spectator. I think this is by design...even the tab says 'Watch and Listen'. Given this philosophy, I think they are achieving their goal. (this is not a criticism, it's an observation. I LOVE NewSpring and am simply pointing out that they aren't attempting to have an interactive campus).
So, evaluating and applying, I found the play concept, beach theme, set design, acting, cartoons, etc. to all be excellent ways to bring kids into the service and teach a Biblical concept that everyone in the room could understand. Further, all the music was prerecorded, so this gave the band a break, along with the teaching pastors (Perry Noble was not there). The online experience itself was not where I think PCC will go, but I did learn a lot from it. I think we will adopt some of what I learned from NewSpring next summer at PCC.