Believe it or not there is a disagreement in churches on the right way to handle an issue (sarcasm). The issue I want to address in this article is my feelings on using modern technology as a tool within the church.
I’ve heard almost every argument that you can hear for and against using technology in the church. Some that had a bit of thought behind them, others that were way out there with no logic to them whatsoever. Now, before I get into my points I’ll lay my cards out on the table and say that I am for the church using technology wisely. I attend a church that I feel does this. Our church posts regularly to social media, pastors, teachers, worship leaders use screens in teaching and singing. We have people that read their bible from their phone and tablets. We have a website, radio broadcast, podcast, video streaming. Some will say that all of that is bad, but let’s dig in a bit.
I was speaking with a lady in her 70s one day that was 100% completely against reading the bible in church from a phone or an iPad. I spoke with her and just asked why, after all the words on the devices screen were the same as what she was reading on paper. They were the same her pastor had projected onto a screen on the wall. After looking at a few things she could not give a solid reason as to why she didn’t like it, she just knew she didn’t. On the other side of that, I spoke with an older gentleman who was roughly the same age that brings an iPad to church every week. He reads the scripture, and takes his sermon notes all on his tablet. We had a similar conversation and when I asked why he likes using an iPad he laughed and smiled and and said it was because he could increase the font size and actually read it.
When I was speaking with the older lady, I asked her if she had ever tried using a device, she had not. I respectfully then asked her if her dislike of others using them come from her not fully understanding them and their benefit? To which she replied it might be. There was wisdom to be gained from her. Be able to learn at any age, be willing to look at facts presented. Be willing to have the conversation and look at tough questions.
When I look in scripture I see God’s word written on a number of mediums. Tablets of stone in Exodus, a scroll in Jeremiah, a wall in Daniel, Jesus has writing on his thigh in Revelation. The bible manuscripts were originally written on papyrus or vellum. Whatever technology was present was used to get out the message of God. I believe we can apply that today.
I don’t want to just look at the positive though, but I do want to acknowledge the negative. Technology can be a great tool but it can be a great distraction if we’re not careful. Notifications and alerts can quickly distract us from the message being taught, or the passage being read. When possible, especially in a church setting we should silence the notifications if we are going to use the tech. Aside from the general distractions and noise that can come from tech, technology has been used for some tearable things over the years and that will continue. We can’t stop rightly using a tool though because someone abuses it. For example many believe Cain killed Able with a rock, and later the ten commandments were written in stone. A wrong use of something can not stop the positive use of it.
I believe technology is just another tool at our disposal. In the church if we can use it to spread the gospel message and teach others about the hope of Jesus then we should, while being careful and mindful of it’s pitfalls. If it’s your preference to not use the technology, please do not hinder others from it. Whatever you do, and whatever medium you choose to do it from, just read your bible.