Church people are often accused of being old-fashioned or stuck in the past. Sometimes this is because of the image people have of church: organs, pews, candles, and a setup that hasn’t changed since the 1700s. While many more traditional churches still employ a simple, classic format, many pastors and congregations have already begun to use technology to bring their faith message into the modern age. Here are just a few examples of some ways churches are using technology now.
1. Slideshows During the Service
This is one of the most common. Most mid-size churches have a projector and a screen installed in their sanctuary, even if they don’t use it all the time. This lets them display announcements before and after the service, as well as prayers, song lyrics, and congregational instructions throughout. Even some more liturgy-centered churches are going this route, since reading large letters off a screen can be easier for elderly members who have problems holding a hymnal or reading the small print.
2. Recording and Redistributing Sermons
If you’ve always wanted to hear a sermon from a megachurch but don’t live near any of them, visit their website and you’ll have instant access to their sermon from last week, and often even the last couple of weeks. Even smaller churches are beginning to record their sermons and keep them online. This is helpful both for members who can’t attend on one Sunday for some reason, and non-members deciding if they want to visit the church for the first time.
Some teachers offer full sermon series as a package. Ed Young, for example, sells sermon packages called “2G USB.” Order one, and you’ll get a two-gigabyte flash drive full of sermons, discussion questions, and worksheets, as a sort of intensive class on a specific topic.
3. Active Social Media Presence
Most churches at least have a website these days, but a few go the extra mile and create Facebook and Twitter pages for themselves as well. This makes it easy for them to create events, post pictures, and update members quickly on prayer requests or last-minute announcements. This also lets members find each other online and connect outside of church meetings.
Smaller churches are beginning to get into this as well, since it’s a great way to get their name out in the community. When people are posting, tagging, or tweeting their church in their everyday social media lives, they’re making their friends aware of this church and what it’s all about — and, just like sermons, it’s a great way to get to know newcomers before they even set foot inside the church.
4. Incorporating Tech Into the Sermons
Churchgoers who appreciate a quieter, more reflective sermon time might frown on this practice, but a lot of churches are reaching out to the digital generation by encouraging them to respond to the sermon on their phones. This could include live-tweeting thoughts with a sermon hashtag, looking up Bible verses online, or texting questions anonymously to the pastor so he can respond. This is more prevalent in youth services or churches with a lot of attendees under age 30, and it’s a riskier move because others may find it very distracting — but it can also be a huge draw.
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