As a follow-up on my last post (which was almost a week ago now); the topic of the use of technology in the church is a very interesting and broad one. I recently just finished reading Vintage Church by Mark Driscoll which was very educating and inspiring on the whole subject of ecclesiology. But in specific, there were two chapters I was very interested in reading. One was about multi-site churches and the other on how a church can utilize technology effectively. A few of the main points from these chapters were: 1) that technology is a gift from God 2) technology can and should be used to accomplish and enhance the mission of the church 3) it is not a one-size-fits-all model that works for every church, different churches require different levels of use and different kinds of technology.
For example, Mark’s church is very large and has 11 different campus in the Pacific Northwest. They use live video to broadcast his sermons from the main campus every Sunday which are viewed live at the other campuses or recorded to be played at a later service. Obviously if your church is not multi-site you don’t need a video feed of your sermons. But every church now has a need for sermon audio in the least. The available technology used by the church should allow people (members and non-members) to freely consume the church’s resources such as sermon audio, sermon notes, and transcripts if necessary. The church is called to be generous with its resources and should not charge for a sermon download to avoid being seen as greedy. Since the main responsibility of the church on Sunday is the preaching of the Word it should be made available to everyone who needs it, whether members who missed because of serving in children’s ministry or illness, or newcomers who want to make an informed decision about visiting your church, or non-believers who simply want to hear God’s Word.
I could go on forever on this topic, but I will limit it to one more paragraph :0. Another aspect of a church’s use of technology would be its online presence. Does your church have a website? Is it easy to find and use? Is it visually pleasing? Is the gospel and the church’s mission clearly presented? Will you take advantage of social media such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, The City, etc…. The main objective of having an online presence for your church is to reach as many people for Jesus as possible and to give a new dimension to community for the members of the church. Having an online presence, and a strong one at that, will help a church reach those people who might be out of their geographic area (future residents, troops overseas, missionaries, etc…). The best way to approach the use of the Internet is to make it as much as possible an extension of the life of the church. In the church we have the preaching of the Word, many and various ministries, counseling, leadership training, prayer requests, fellowship, and more. All of these aspects of church life should be as present as possible in the church’s use of the Internet.
For example, Mark Driscoll’s church uses a program called The City to bring church life online. A member at the church actually designed it and implemented it and has since sold it to the Christian publishing company Zondervan. The City functions as a Christian version of Facebook, where church members are able to communicate with each other, lead and coordinate ministries, submit prayer requests, buy and sell goods and services, and even search for jobs in a password-protected environment. Many churches across the country have implemented The City at their own churches as well.
In summary, technology is a vast and limitless topic where something new is always on the horizon that can make our lives easier or better. The church’s job is to take these things that God has given, which man has twisted and perverted, and redeem them for the use of God’s kingdom and the Church’s mission. At the end of the day, our use of technology must be evaluated by the points from above, 1) Are we using technology in our church to glorify God or conform to the world? and 2) Are we using technology by God’s grace and the best of our ability to enhance the mission of our church to reach more people for Jesus? When we do these things we will see a church that is more in love with Jesus and as a result, reaching the culture for Jesus, thus bringing glory to God. In the church age we are constantly on a mission for the fame and renown of Jesus Christ and we accomplish that by loving Jesus and being faithful witnesses to the lost and being good stewards of the gifts which God has bestowed to us.