Miniblog #139: How Churches Should Use Electronic Technology
Electronic technology, like all technology, is a tool–an instrument used to accomplish a task or purpose. Nothin’ wrong with that. The very medium in which I’m sharing my thoughts evidences this. The trouble arises when the tool itself becomes the end rather than the means. This becomes particularly problematic when people fail to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses, what they’re gaining and what they’re sacrificing. It’s never good when people instead indiscriminately buy into the prevailing capitalistic cultural impulse which says that which is new is innately better. In my opinion, our general approach should be to establish a culture of neither immediate embrace nor automatic rejection, but rather of critical assessment and careful engagement. We need to ask ourselves, ‘How can we best use or not use electronic technology to serve our particular community and mission field?’ I suspect the answer will to that question will differ from one church to the next. For example, in my own context of helping start a new Anglican church where there’s a saturation of technologically heavy churches and a significant sort of Anglo-Baptist undercurrent, my sense is that a user-friendly and aeshetically pleasing website is essential, social media is largely helpful, and in-service techology should be kept to a minimal. Yet it’s not hard to imagine other place where, say, an established non-denominational church might need a pragmatic website, minimal use of social media, and be heavily dependent on electronic technology during the service. These are just some reflections. I’d love to hear what you think.