Technology is different things to different people. For some, it?s a means to an end?something they are forced to embrace because they have no choice. For others it?s the other extreme?everything about them is wrapped up in technology somehow. You know who I?m talking about: the person who is always wrapped up in their phone or tablet, and conversations with them revolve more around what was said on social media than what is actually happening in real life. In fact, if you oversee technology in your church, that person may sound fairly familiar to you.
So many worship and tech leaders have their entire identity wrapped up in technology. Instead of technology being what they do, it’s really more an extension of who they are. I guess what I’m really saying is, ?Hi, my name is Duke, and I’m a recovering tech addict.? I have been guilty of ignoring the real life around me only to bury myself in technology (and still occasionally do), but I’m learning more and more every year that the relationships I have with real live humans are?infinitely better than the relationship I have with my smart phone.
But as I sit on an airplane and type this note of encouragement to you on my iPad using Evernote, please hear me say that it’s not the technology that is out of whack in our lives at times. It’s really what we’re using it for. As an escape or alternative to real-life relationships, it’s not helping you. As a distraction to what will actually help you serve those around you, again, not much help. We need to remember what technology is truly there to help us with, which, in my opinion, boils down to three key areas.
Technology is there to help us create.
The works of art the average person can create at home today because of technology would have absolutely freaked out the great creators of 20-30 years ago. If you’re old enough to remember what recording and mixing an album looked like 25 years ago or what it took to cut and splice together frames to make a movie, you know exactly what I’m talking about. While there is more artistic noise than ever in history, people who would have never been able to make amazing works of art can often learn and produce some pretty good stuff with some practice and a laptop.
Technology is there to help us connect.
In the context of our churches, technology is a tremendous tool to help us connect with and engage people. Creating great art that moves people to connect to who they are and who they want to be is one of the most noble and fun uses for technology that I know of. Technology can also be used to create an environment that helps people feel comfortable enough to connect to others, helping create energy and a desire to reach out to others. And when creativity and technology themselves aren’t your god, it can be used to help us connect with the God.[quote]Technology is a tremendous tool to help us connect with and engage people.[/quote]
Technology is there to help us communicate.
This is perhaps one of the noblest uses of technology and also the most abused. Where interactive communication with people used to be limited to whoever fit in your vicinity, the right use of technology can help communicate interactively with people across the entire planet, all in real time.
My last three semesters of college were 100% online, with only a virtual classroom to hold lectures, have discussion groups, and even complete group projects. One group project included me and three other students with all four of us living in different states.
Technology is there to help us communicate, but this is also the trickiest because it’s so easy to hide behind the technology and cut out the interaction. Technology was never designed with the intent of replacing human interaction. It was meant to help facilitate it. I know too many people who can’t, for the life of them, have a hard conversation in person, but can rip people to shreds through email or social media.[quote]Technology was never designed with the intent of replacing human interaction.[/quote]
I love technology and I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life at the intersection of art, relationships, communication, and tech. But I wouldn’t be honest if I said there weren’t times that I left that intersection to simply walk down the tech road a bit, partially because I’m good with technology and partially because dealing with tech is often much simpler than dealing with people. But at the end of the day, I’ve never once felt truly fulfilled by a system I’ve designed, by a production I’ve run, and especially not by a conversation via text or email. Proud of my work maybe, but never the true fulfillment that comes with interacting with fellow human beings.
I’m wired to create, connect, and communicate with others. And so are you. The question is: Will the technology of today, and the more amazing tech that’s still to come, be a tool you use to help you do more of that or will it be something that distracts you and who you were meant to be?