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This is a guest post by Steven Swain. Read more about how you can guest post on Christian Web Trends here.
Changing for the Sake of the Kingdom
When it comes to technology there is no shortage of opinions about the effects it has on the individual, community, and culture. Regardless of our political, ethnicity, financial, or social standing, technology affects us all in different ways. It causes questions to be asked regarding ethics and morals in life.
Nobody is more resistant to change when it comes to technology than local churches. Disagreements have caused whole denominations to split over the issue of the instruments being introduced in local churches. Today some churches are splitting over using a screen versus a hymnal. There have been a multitude of different forms of technology which have caused harsh arguments and debate within church walls, including whether a church’s need a website or Facebook page.
As is true with anything, most of the time the wrong questions are asked and thus the wrong answers are given. The disagreements over the use of technology often lead to counterarguments which answer the charges and do not look at the real issues.
As has been common in churches through the years, theology is brushed to the side and Scripture is ignored. They are replaced with feelings rather than Scripture and opinion rather than doctrinal truth. For that reason the very items which are being ignored need to be consulted.
Three thoughts which may guide us on most life issues can guide us here as well.
1. Technology itself is not evil.
This is easy to understand. If we, as church members, did not believe in technology then we would not ever use it. We would walk or ride a bareback horse to church. Forget saddles, wagons, or cars–those are all the results of technology. If we did not believe in technology we should toss our Bibles, hymnals, and bulletins away–those are all 13th and 14th century technologies. Strip the microphone and sound system out–early 20th century technology. In fact, when we have our next fellowship forget the plates and silverware–that technology belongs as far back as written records.
Technology does not make porn movies. It does not cause people to curse in public. Nor does it make people form political opinions or cause revolutions. According to the Lord Jesus, “…what comes from the heart, …those defile the man.” (Matthew 15:18-NASB; Italicized in mine)
Technology may make it easier to do what is wrong, but it does not make people do evil. To believe such things places us in the same camp as the superstitious who believe having certain items around gives power to good/evil.
2. How dependent are we on the technology?
When I was a pastor I was prepared to sing a special during the homecoming. Our church was just entering the late 20th century technologically. Therefore, since the song was a more contemporary song I needed to use the CD player on the sound system. When the time came to start our special music, I was up first. The microphone was hot, the system had been working well all morning, and everything looked good. When the button was pushed, a pop came through the speakers, a spark came out of the back of the player, and it was over. We sang hymns during the rest of the song service. So many people were disappointed! I was quick to remind them that the technology was not what we were about, it was to glorify God.
The Psalmist reminds us of this in Psalms 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (NASB) The key thought is while the rest of the nations trusted their machines of war, the greatest asset Israel had was their trust in God. It is the simple concept of faith versus technology. Technology should never gain more of our attention, time and money than what God receives from us daily. Technology may add to us giving glory to God, but technology itself cannot be trusted. This brings us into the final thought:
3. What is the purpose of technology?
Technology evidently has a place within the walls and corridors of the local church. Here are uses for technology:
- Making announcements on a rolling feed before the worship time starts;
- Making announcements on the Social Media;
- Making announcements on the Web page;
- Sending updates through e-mail, text, etc.;
- Being able to announce emergency needs;
- Place sermon points on the big screen while the sermon is being preached;
- Text out daily thoughts;
- Post weekly devotionals online.
These are a few thoughts. Remember that technology is a tool, nothing more, nothing less. We ARE to use technology on every level in whatever way benefits the Kingdom of God. It is impossible to ignore technology because we are using it at one level or another. As a result, we do the Kingdom of God no favors by not using what we can.
The Bible is loaded with examples of technology on the everyday level. Building cities (Genesis 4:17; Matthew 7:13-14), the building of the Ark (Genesis 6), and the making of the fish nets and their use (Matthew 13:47-50) are a few examples of technology on a more primitive level being used in today world as well.
Regardless, we use technology in today’s world. Let’s use technology wisely, but let’s use it just the same.