I read a blog post this morning from William Vanderbloemen on Parse. The piece was actually about Marc Driscoll, who I don’t find that interesting. However, it was actually more about how technology is changing the future of the church. One paragraph really stood out:
Rome built roads, and then Paul planted churches. Alexander conquered the then known world and gave it one common language, and the New Testament was canonized in his Koine Greek. The printing press was invented, and Martin Luther put a Bible in the hands of anyone who wanted one. Now, as we sit on the heels of the most seminal communication breakthrough ever, the church is poised for enormous growth and expansion.
While many churches, especially some large churches, new churches, and innovated churches, have embraced this new technology to spread the gospel, many (I think I might be able to say most) churches are far behind. Within the new Rio Texas Conference (which becomes a reality in January) we still have churches that are mostly invisible in the world of the web and social media. Others have stuck their foot in the water but have so far to go. Sometimes it is due to a lack of resources or information. Other times it is a failure to realize and remember that God has always used technology to spread the word.
Ignoring the technology that is available would be like Paul deciding that he didn’t want to walk on the Roman roads to get to the cities he was called to go to or Gutenberg thinking that printing was just a fad and not a worthy tool for sharing God’s word.
Technology is not without dangers and pitfalls. Roman roads were pretty dicey too and a number of people died (and still do) trying to get printed bibles into the hands of people. However, that is a reason to be careful, not a reason to stand still. I continue to encourage the new Rio Texas Conference to adopt a “No Church Left Behind” approach the technology. We need every church to have access to a broadband internet connection. Every church should have a vibrant “front door” website. All of our congregations should have some amount of presence in the ever changing social media world. These churches also need to have access to technology that can help them reach their mission field in contextually appropriate ways.
You can read the full article on Parse here:
Why Mark Driscoll’s Resignation Shows We’re in a New Era For Pastors
Technology is all well and good, but the pitfall that I see is the distancing that it permits both sides of the church to engage. Those who have always been hesitant about churches can maintain that distance therefore not having to expend any emotional connection. The church can feel that they have made contact with their congregation and not acknowledge the need for personal contact that many who are unable to attend church, may need. So, as many who have commented about the social and emotional distancing that technology has the church MUST attend to this and insure that this does not happen. Because, if it does, then the church will not be meeting the needs of the people and will fail.