Thirty years ago when I was a college freshman, less than 1% of college students owned a computer, actually, way less than 1%! It was a net positive if you owned an electric typewriter instead of a manual one. In my first church we did not have a screen in our facility and could not conceive of a computer in the church office.
I don’t have to tell you that times have changed. But, for the better? Well, yes, of course for the better in the area of technology. However, while we can do things now in ministry we would not have dreamed of thirty years ago, there are also things we cannot do anymore because of technology. Here are at least five…
We cannot keep our people in the dark. Thirty years ago our people knew nothing of other churches, unless it was Charles Stanley’s church or Chuck Swindoll’s church. Those two guys were on the radio throughout the country. Other than them, our folks were in the dark as to what was going on in the church in America. All they had was Christianity Today or Moody Monthly, maybe a few others, but you get the point. Today, through the Internet, our people have every piece of information they could ever hope to want regarding the church in America – available instantly!
We cannot be ignorant. As pastors, there is absolutely no excuse for us to stay ignorant for any amount of time on a subject we need to be informed on. While driving down the road, my wife and I often have a question, such as, How many people live in Poland? or What does supralapsarianism mean? or Who wrote Foxes Book Of Martyrs? or What is the temperature in Fairbanks, AK? With our iPhones either of us (her, if I am driving!) can find out instantly. There is really nothing we can remain ignorant about, with credibility.
We cannot find a good reason to not communicate with people. Thirty years ago our phone line might be busy (the party line!) or we might not have been home when someone phoned or visited. Today, nope! Doesn't cut it anymore! We have no excuse to not be informing our people on what is up at our church, or to not be communicating with them regularly. There are actually too many options!
We cannot tell our missionaries “see you in four years”. Again, with technology, we can communicate with virtually every missionary we support. For that matter, we can practically visit every one of them at one time or another.
We cannot ignore new technology. If we ignore things like Facebook and Twitter, the Internet and smartphones, we are like the farmer who did not want a phone at his house, explaining “If anyone wants to talk with me, they can come right out here to the farm and see me!” The printing press made it possible to take the scriptures to the world, and the Internet makes it possible to share information instantaneously around the globe. If we ignore new technology, we are telling the world and the community we live in “we do not care about you!”
This Wednesday, on Episode 23 of The 200churches Podcast, we talk about Five Technologies Every Church Must Engage With. Jonny also tries to bring Jeff up to speed on “The Facebook and The Twitter!”
What is the single most significant way that technology has changed how you do ministry?
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