Why Technology Matters in the Church
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
As someone who has been deeply involved in production in one way or another for two decades, I’ll go ahead and admit right now that I’m biased in saying technology can play a critical role in helping us fulfill the mission of the Church. But even today I’m always quite surprised just how much some people are against technology in the church. In fact, in a lighting article I wrote for another trade magazine, comments ranged from overwhelming thanks to blasting me for implying that God can’t move without great lighting. Like any tool, technology is only as effective as you make it. And without a doubt, in the wrong hands, technology can fight to be the star of the show, elevating it above the very mission it should serve.
But I truly believe in and have committed my life to the idea that technology can and should be leveraged to help churches achieve more toward the Great Commission than they ever could without. While technology used poorly can certainly set up a technology versus the Great Commission scenario, technology leveraged well will enhance a church’s efforts to achieve the goal of teaching the world about Jesus. The very nature of why most technology was created was to help us be more effective, connect things and people like never before, and open up opportunities to do more. Which leads me to a few key reasons why you should be leveraging technology to reach more people than you can without.
Technology helps us connect better and wider.
One of the biggest wins of technology over the last few decades has been the connecting of people across the globe. While it has amazing implications for families who are scattered across the nation (my kids love weekly Skype calls with the grandparents, which I never had as a kid), used well this enhanced connectedness can help us reach people like never before. Churches streaming online reach people in other states and even other countries, simply by broadcasting video of their services to the web. Missionaries get the support they need with speed and agility they’ve never experienced as they share their message with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of supporters across the globe. Even close to home, churches and pastors can communicate needs, schedules, events, etc. with the click of the mouse. When’s the last time your bulletin had that kind of impact?
Technology helps us communicate more effectively.
I promise I’m not trying to be cute or funny here, but have you sat and wondered just how Jesus was able to communicate his message to the crowd of 3,000? Or any large crowd for that matter? Jesus was God, so I’m not going to pretend to know how His message was heard by the masses. But for those of us today, speaking to a large crowd fails miserably without amplified sound. And in a highly visual society, communication is far more effective when people can see your face, hence the invention of Image Magnification (IMAG) on the screens. The fact of the matter is that technology helps us connect to our audience better than without (if used well, of course).
Technology helps us create more and better art
Both the greatest advantage and disadvantage of technology is that it has made art more accessible to the masses. While it may have diluted the overall quality of the art available to us today, it has also enabled opportunities to some amazing artists who may have never had the opportunity to grow otherwise. And for those willing and able to hone their craft, advancements in technology have allowed us to produce art with un-paralleled quality and resolution. For the church, this is great news as the increased accessibility and quality of technology available to today’s artists is empowering our congregations to become more creative, and at a higher quality, in presenting the story of Jesus in a way that is relevant to today’s culture.
Technology for the sake of technology will quickly put technology at odds with the Great Commission. But when technology is leveraged as the tool that it is to help us connect better and wider than we ever could without, we are going to make disciples of all nations, not just of our back yard. When it’s leveraged to communicate clearly and effectively to people we simply couldn’t reach without it, we are more effectively teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded. And when we leverage technology to bring the Gospel of Jesus to people in ways that connect with them and are culturally relevant, we see people take their steps toward beginning a relationship with Jesus and starting their own journey toward fulfilling the Great Commission.