Technology and its impact on the church
"No temptation has overtaken you that is unusual for human beings. But God is faithful, and he will not allow you to be tempted beyond your strength. Instead, along with the temptation he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to endure it." - Corinthians 10:13
In this day and age, technology has proven to be a great addition to the church. It has also given a great boost in enhancing the worship experience as projectors powering the words on screen ensure everyone can sing along. Technology has been a great tool in powering the message to salvation to the 'corners of the world'. Many pastors, instead of going to the altar armed with pages of notes now take their tablets and iPads.
There is also the added benefit of social media when it comes to advertising church programmes and seeking assistance for outreach programmes.
The addition of technology in the church's ministry is without question very impactful, but at what cost?
Pastor Joan Gumbs of How Ya Livin' Now, shared with Family and Religion that one of the negative effects of technology on anyone including Christians is the addiction element.
"Times have changed, and one can find oneself being addicted to the Internet. It is amazing to see during a service, church members checking out their Facebook profile. And if that wasn't bad enough, they can also be found tweeting about the service on the Twitter platform," she shared.
Uncontrolled addiction to technology, according to Gumbs can lead to alienation of some church members from others.
"Whereas there has always been cliques in the church, it was never as bad as it has become since the advent of technology in the church. If you don't have an iPhone or iPad you are not a part of the 'in' crowd," she said adding that this kind of materialistic behaviour should never be a part of Christendom.
With the advancement of technology, many believers fall into the trap of being distracted from God.
With this distraction comes more fascination with all that technology presents and less feeding on the word, resulting in the Christian life becoming weaker.
CUTTING IN ON PRAYER TIME
There are times social media has one so consumed that it gives little time to even say a prayer. Many believers fall into the trap of uttering a quick, guilty prayer before falling asleep.
Commenting on the many social media tools, Gumbs said many Christians spend more time sharing Whatsapp chain messages than spreading the word of God.
She also pointed out that the obsession with it steals time from community outreach.
"Some church members have abandoned actual visitation of members or those in the communities and instead replace it with 'Whatsapp groups' and 'socialising' on their phones," said Gumbs.
It is the norm now to see parents enjoying the message while the child sits beside them engrossed in their tablets. In this case Gumbs said it doesn't have to be a negative thing.
"While it may seem counter-productive giving children tablets to quiet them down in church, the reality is, tablets can be effective tools. For instance, a tablet, which is a mini computer, can have Christian programmes designed for children that can keep them engaged during service, so as not to disrupt the service," she shared.
With the advent of smart phones Gumbs said that there is the risk of conflicts in the church as disgruntled members sometimes tweet their displeasure over something in the church and that can go viral ending up hurting the assembly.
"They can also use the video camera feature on the phone to video anyone in the congregation or on the podium for the same reason," she said.
"Technology of the 21st Century allows man to call his neighbour in Timbuktu on a device in which they can see each other even though they may be thousands of miles apart. Technology allows churches to better communicate with their members, especially those living afar," she said, adding that nothing is wrong with technology. "It has always existed and will continue to do so, with or without those of us who oppose it."