The advancement and use of technology is a major driving factor in today’s culture. People are influenced by technology in both lifestyles and habits. Think about the last time your Wi-Fi went down in your office — I’m sure it left employees at a stand still. Or think of a time when you misplaced your cell phone — I don’t doubt that it sent you into instant anxiety. Technological advancements have made life more proficient, closed communication gaps, enhanced graphic imagery, and provided overall enhancements to the quality of life.
While technology has enhanced society in many ways, the church has been hesitant to embrace it. Often in church history, technological advancements like the Gutenberg Press were held at an arm’s length or were immediately rejected by the church. This has sometimes resulted in the church being a late mover in culture, playing catch up to communicate its message with vibrancy and clarity. One thing is certain — God is the creator and the innovative force influencing humanity. He is the giver of gifts and insight to human intellect for technological advancements in missional expansion and expression. Technology that is outdated and irrelevant can actually be distracting and hurt the message of the church. Technology that is updated and used wisely can make a lasting impact in a digitally immersed culture.
Some church cultures feel uneasy talking about church technology. Too often, technological relevance is categorized as changing or “watering down” the message of Christianity. I would argue that relevance is not changing the message but changing the medium in which the message is communicated. The church must rejoice in the era of robin-egg-blue painted basement walls and flannelgraphs, but it also must move on to leverage vibrant websites for visitors’ first impressions, social media for small group communities, efficient office and program procedures, and stunning worship experiences that allow people to feel the presence of God. Church technology can be utilized to further share the gospel — not to distract from it.
How Does Technology Help the Church?
Over the past several months during the COVID pandemic, church technology has become integral to church ministry. Churches have strategized to offer virtual service options to their congregations. Pastors and church leaders quickly learned whether or not they were prepared and staffed technologically to meet the need. More than ever before, we need to capitalize on the use of technology to tell the story and message of Jesus Christ.
Instead of being slow to adopt and use these tools, what if the church began to use technology and its ever-changing advancements first? What if the church used technology to influence this current culture with the transforming message of Jesus? What if…?
Jesus was a master at connecting with people. In a like manner, believers today should strive for new and innovative ways to connect with people — all with the goal of bringing them to Him.
What an opportunity for educational institutions to train and prepare ministry students to use technology in various forms and applications. Grace College and Seminary is doing just that! The online Master of Arts in Ministry program is offering a new concentration in Technology starting in January 2021. This program merges the timeless message of scripture with innovative strategies to help the church meaningfully engage with technology. The concentration starts with the course “Technology and Media in Ministry” which will introduce you to many church technology resources. It then progresses to cover topics such as worship, communication, organization, and developing technology talent. The program concludes with a hands-on technology internship to give you practical experience implementing church technology.
Alumnus of The Ohio State University, earning a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Church Administration in 1995. Earned a M.A. in Ministerial Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University and a M.Div. and D.Min at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Trent has 20+ years of experience teaching and writing Bible, ministry, and leadership related courses, advising, and mentoring students at both undergraduate and seminary levels. Trent also has 20+ years of pastoring and planting churches on the West Coast and in the Midwest. 15+ years working in college administration. Currently, Instructional Support Manager and Director of Master of Arts in Ministry for Grace College and Seminary.