Monday, August 4, 2008

Thinking About Technology

I read an article yesterday in The New York Times that got me thinking about the use of technology for the future (and present) of our churches. Don't let the title fool you, it is not a political article, it is about technology:

McCain, the Analog Candidate
Published: August 3, 2008

The issue of the use of technology is a big one in the United Methodist Church. If you spend most of your time in urban and suburban churches, you might not experience this but we have an large number of churches with no web site and many with no web connected computer in their office. And we have a lot of churches that think that there is nothing wrong with that. God certainly transcends our use of technology. People have been worshipping God and entering into relationship with Jesus for a really long time without computers.

But, I think this article raises some questions that go beyond whether or not we use PowerPoint in worship of post podcasts on our websites. It may raise a question like, can a pastor who has no understanding of the new ways in which we communicate and interact have any hope of communicating the gospel message to a new generation? It is possible that technology, like it or not, is interwoven into the fabric of our day to day existence. If we as leaders and evangelists do not understand how the world works, are we missing an opportunity to connect with it?

This is more than a "now" question. It is a "future" question. Technology is not done evolving, in fact it is accelerating. Pastors like me who email, blog and facebook risk being completely lost in another ten years. Pastors and churches will continue to have to make choices about what technologies they embrace and why.

I think there is a case to be made for not always choosing to embrace something new. There are churches thriving with no visible use of technology (except for lights, air conditioning, organs, and those hymnals made possible by one of the greatest technological breakthroughs of all time, the printing press). These decisions may be okay, but I think we need to realize that we are making decisions and these decisions matter.



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