Technology vs Relationship

I have written before on how the church can take advantage of information technology.  Blogs, video streaming, social websites and podcasting are all ways the local church can reach a global audience.  At the same time, your members and community can stay better informed and connected.  Technology can be a powerful tool for sharing the Gospel, but as always there is a danger if used incorrectly.

Discipling: More Than a Podcast Preacher by Jonathan Dodson at 9Marks reminds us that discipleship is relational.  The relationship can be lost if replaced by technology.

The concept is nothing new, but a entire new generation could be subjected to it.  Back in the 80’s, an increasing number of television preachers took their sermons or entire services to the airwaves.  If you were shut in, lived in a nursing home, incarcerated or isolated by geography, the t.v. preacher could be a God send.  For others, watching a Sunday morning broadcast took the place of participating in a local church.  Maybe it was easier than getting up and dressed, or maybe it was about avoiding people, the collection plate, etc.  Weblogs and podcasts are excellent tools for sharing the Gospel, but discipleship is relational.  Jesus preached to multitudes, but he also discipled a group of 12, taught in people’s homes and touched the sick.  The church is a community of believers, and we must not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Heb 12:25).

The Internet for Church Update

This article, from May 16, describes how email, blogging and social media are useful to the church.  I suggested these are tools, resources, that we cannot afford to ignore in a world that increasing connects this way.

Grey Matter Research and Consulting released this information on May 30, providing many useful stats to support my conclusions, such as:

In the past 30 days:

  • 21.5 million adults have visited the website of their own place of worship
  • 10.4 million adults regularly attend worship, but visited the website of a place of worship other than their own
  • 1.6 million adults do not attend worship services regularly, but visited the website of a place of worship

The numbers are more impressive when viewed over the past 6 months and then the past year.  The bottom line: 17 million Americans who do not attend church regularly have visited a church website in the past year.  Props to Paul Wilkinson (Thinking Out Loud) and his Link Lists for the insight.

Note: this is an update to a previous entry.

Christian Tech

How Steve Jobs Accidentally Changed the Persecuted Church appeared at Don’t Eat the Fruit .com back in April.  I read the article, copied the link, and then filed it away.  Read the full article here.

In a nutshell, Jobs never set out to change the way the Gospel is spread.  In Steve Jobs own words the iPod “changed everything.”  The biggest change was storage space; we now measure mp3 capacity in gigabytes.  How does that affect the church?  Countries that stop Bibles at the border usually don’t care about mp3 players.  People groups that do not even have a written language can listen to the Word, and recharge the device with solar power anywhere on earth.

Next the iPhone set the standard for video formatting.  You can record video in mp4 and be pretty sure any device can render it.  Now it’s the iPad.  With the widespread acceptance of ePub (also used by Nook) instead of just a digital Bible a user can basically carry an entire seminary worth of information.

Steve Jobs never set out to enable the Christian church.  I’m not saying Christians around the world use Apple technology to spread the Gospel.  Jobs drove the state of the art forward, and created industry standards that the church can use to everyone’s advantage.