Production Talk With Bill: Technology and Scripture

by | Leadership, Production, Streaming, Worship Service Planning

Last week at CFX 2022 in Dallas TX, I had the privilege of sitting in on a few talks. The topics varied greatly, but centered mostly on the future of technology in the church world, and overall attendees were warm toward technology but a few themes stood out as particularly critical to churches. I’m presenting them as questions for your church leadership to ponder. I know I’m still mulling through these questions myself.

1. Does the way we teach match how people learn?

Today, Christian learning and education happens by media collage: smatterings of social media posts, YouTube clips, podcasts, and more. The Sunday sermon, small groups, and personal reading are proportionally small in influence. As a global church, our primary assumption has historically been (and still is) that people learn, synthesize, and internalize the gospel to create a Christian worldview through reading—the Bible, Bible studies, daily devotionals, Sunday morning sermons, or Bible study groups. It’s time to stop 1) assuming people read and understand what they read and 2) relying on reading as our go-to mode to transfer knowledge. And, yes, for many of us it’s probably a hard pill to swallow given how much we love our books.

So, questions your church should be asking include: Are we teaching people in the places they learn? How can or should we focus our energies to help form a biblical worldview in our church members and attendees? What more do we need to learn to respond well?

2. What do we think about online church?

Related to the above, nowadays most people live much of their life online. They read the news online. They plan events online. They talk to friends online. They research basically everything online. It’s no surprise, then, that more and more people are going to church online.

However, for many of us, the idea of attending church online seems almost paradoxical. How do we realize the intentions and commands of church community apart from one another? This objection has merit.

Rather than be reactionary against online church, pause to reflect on the trend. What need is it signaling? Should it be embraced, and if so, to what degree and why? How can in-person community and online interaction complement each other?

3. Where do we draw the line on how we use technology?

Inherent in the question is an assumption that technology, like any tool or medium, has its place.

Bible software can help you make connections and discoveries in minutes or even seconds that could take you possibly hours to make with a paper Bible. With a few clicks you can discover helpful commentaries, do word studies, and perform hundreds of tasks that help you know your Bible better. And this matters personally and deeply to people. 

Both are important and serve different purposes, and that’s fine. The challenge is keeping those purposes and your goals clear. Information serves formation, and as such, technology does have its limits.

So how do we make technology an excellent servant—not just in Bible study but in other ways?

How does your church use Instagram and Facebook for good? When and where are screens inappropriate in the life of your church? When does technology work against formation, and when does it work for it?

These are challenging questions, to be sure, and there can be an impulse to shun new technology out of fear or nostalgia.  But that would be a mistake, because we’d be throwing out all the good technology can bring. 

Take some of the questions posed here to your next staff meeting to begin assessing how your church can properly use technology in its ministry.

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