How is tech helping and hurting the Church’s mission?

Churches large and small are trying to figure out how best to use technology to support their mission in their communities. There’s nothing terribly new about this, but the convergence of a rapidly changing society and hyper-rapid technological change is creating a situation where everybody is intentionally scrambling to catch up.

The Houston Chronicle has a report that details the ways that congregations ranging from “Mega-Church” multicampus entities to small family size congregations are working to find the appropriate way to use new tech in their context. But first there are some larger questions to answer:

“The question that remains is whether the Internet will also change the nature of faith. Einstein said the Web offers tools that perhaps change the packaging, but the product remains the same.

“You’re not changing the fundamental beliefs of the faith,” she said.

Courtney Campbell, a religion professor at Oregon State University, said the key will be whether people continue to gather together or if they feel they can fulfill religious needs from a screen. The latter, he said, is depersonalized.

“Religion,” he said, “like so many other social institutions, is adapting and trying to maintain its integrity in a society driven by technology.””

More here.

This article raises an interesting point, technology tends to be thought of as a one-size-fits-all sort of thing in church conversations. But what works in one setting and size doesn’t necessarily work in another. The writer’s willingness to profile all sorts of strategies is quite helpful.

How about you? What are the ways that technology is helping you do what you want to do in your congregations? Have you tried another church’s strategy, found that it wasn’t appropriate and then moved on? We need to be more intentional about thinking about the right context and the right tools when we think about such things, don’t we?

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