August 22, 2007 by mgold.
It seems to me that the church gets stuck on petty consumer issues like: Which computer platform is better?… Microsoft or Macintosh…What a shame…
Church leaders today need to be educated on the how technology truly impacts our world strategically. They need to take ownership in the fact that for better or worse, we live in a technical world. They need to take ownership in their own pursuit of learning high level, strategic views into the good, bad and ugly areas of technology and stop passing this responsibility off on technology professionals.
1. It would be great to see leaders consider the impact of recent studies that have found 70% of people ages 14 to 34 are now engaging in social technology experiences like Facebook and MySpace instead of watching TV during primetime hours.
2. Leaders need to understand the educational, social justice rifts and economic issues that can be caused and cured by technology.
3. Leaders need to understand other social trends effected by technology as well. Including social groups that are reacting against the economic and social realities of our increasingly complicated technical world.
I say all this because I don’t believe that the church should simply embrace the concept of being more “techy”. The church just needs to be tech smart. Paul wasn’t an expert in Roman Road building. He couldn’t care less about the fact that Roman roads represented amazing levels of advanced technology and engineering, even by today’s standards. He was, however, keenly aware that Roman Roads connected his world together. He was not aware that there were 55,000 miles of Roman Roads. He was however, aware of the dangers associated with using these roads. I believe that Paul used these roads without reservation. They were simply a part of his everyday life.
Therein lies the point. Concepts like Social Technology, Information Technology and Communication technology are part of our everyday lives. Let’s use a more recent example that a friend of mine shared with me. Recently, the Democratic Presidential Debates were broadcast by CNN. However, instead of limiting their broadcast to conventional methods, they decided to first collect thousands of comments and questions from everyday folks in video format using the popular website, http://www.youtube.com/debates. For me, it was simply amazing to see the creativity, intelligence and ownership of fellow Americans as I watched candidates answer question after question.
The point here is, CNN and YouTube didn’t simply try to do something cool and trendy with technology. They made participating in the debates accessible to more people, they made it more relevant and they even made it more profitable.
Church leaders should have seen that and asked questions like: How can the church leverage technologies to do likewise? How can the church make the Gospel and Spiritual formation accessible to more people? How can the church connect to more relevant issues facing our world, How can the church use technology wisely to bear more fruit.
Church leaders need to be educated on this and they need to own their education. Church technologists need to do everything they can to facilitate this process. My hope is that we won’t have a church that simply follows the world reacting to trendy concepts and ideas. My hope is that the church will own its own ideas and drive its own technology trends and concepts….that the church will think progressively and wisely.