Does a Church Need Technology?
From radio and television broadcasts, live streaming, uploaded videos, instagram, twitter, snapchat, youtube, facebook and websites, to tablets and laptops, technology is everywhere. (You are probably reading this on an instrument of modern technology.) Our technology is evolving exponentially, and there are many teachers that will agree that it is not all a blessing either. Let’s go back for a minute! Remember the steps to writing a research paper back-in-the-day? Go to the library; Look for a book (or books) in the card catalogue in a physical cabinet; Locate the book(s); Read and search for your answers; Take good notes; Write or type the paper; Correct mistakes with an eraser, white out, or correction tape.
Well, those days are gone. However, let us think about what we gained from those actions:
1. We learned patience and organization. We had to have patience to complete all of the steps, which depending on the size of paper took a couple of hours to a couple of weeks. Learning about starting on time and pacing ones' self was essential.
2. We learned determination or forbearance. We had to have determination to complete each step well enough to pass the assignment. Without it, giving up would have been the choice. (There is nothing easy about researching and writing a term paper!)
3. We learned self control. We had to have self control, or laziness, fatigue, or the promise of fun would have side-tracked us. Self control enabled us to tell friends, “I got a paper due Friday. I still got work to do! See you Saturday.”
4. We learned faithfulness. We had to have faithfulness, to work for our goal; even though other attractive alternatives were at our finger tips. With faith we could say, “If I write an outstanding paper, I’ll get an A on my report card. That’s one more step towards me becoming an ecologist.”
5. We learned how to experience joy. We had to have joy to lighten our load when things got really challenging, and it was a struggle to continue.
(Did you notice that these are character traits we all need to get through life?)
So, although, the research steps are pretty much squashed into a single step now: Bing or Google it, we still need the lessons the steps taught. The lessons were partly the fruit of the Spirit, as listed in Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Furthermore, Romans 8:25, and Galatians 6:9 (ESV) have similar sentiments, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
I know you are wondering what does this have to do with church. People who were not brought up in the age of corded telephones, keeping change to use the telephone booth, listening to eight tracks, records, and tapes, wearing a watch to tell the time, going to the library for everything, eating home cooked meals from the oven 98% of the time, etc., look for everything to be instant, changeable, tangible, and entertaining (which is usually loud). However, building a relationship with God is really none of those things.
Hear me out! Learning about God takes time. We are told in 2 Timothy 2:15 (TLB) Work hard so God can say to you, “Well done.” Be a good workman, one who does not need to be ashamed when God examines your work. Know what his Word says and means. Or the more known scripture from the KJV, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." It takes thought, consideration, meditation, patience, and prayer to do this. And where do we learn this? IN CHURCH. It is not instant. Also, God’s Word, gratefully, does not change. What my grandparents taught my parents, and my parents taught me, still applies to the techno savvy children of this generation. The immovability of God’s Word gives me joy, happiness, confidence, and security, but not entertainment. Entertainment is an element of the world. Finally, God is all about the spirit. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth," John 4:24, KJV. The world, and all it contains, is tangible. So, it can be touched. If it can be touched, it can be destroyed, stolen, or killed. God is about that which is intangible; that which cannot be touch, destroyed, stolen, or killed. God’s about the spirit inside us, and much of the time we must be quiet to hear God speak.
Oh, what a great lesson to teach our youth: Worshipping God is different from everything in the world.
My perspective? Technology is nice to have, and depending on the size of the church, more or less may be instrumental in delivering the Word. However, no! A church does not need technology to worship and serve, just as a true teacher does not need a Smart board to instruct. To some individuals, it is a hinderance: How many people, not just children, have you seen playing games and reading Facebook in church during worship service? Technology is great, but sometimes the bare basics are better.
This is one perspective. What’s yours?