Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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Technology

  • Jim Townsley
  • May 10, 2008

The manner in which churches operate is constantly changing. Some of these changes seem beneficial to the church while others prove to be harmful. We enjoy many advantages in our modern-day society that would be difficult to relinquish. Who would prefer outhouses rather than indoor plumbing? Who would rather saddle the horse or hitch-up the buggy and travel an hour in inclement weather to attend a church service? Who would prefer a hand-held fan to air-conditioning? I'm sure we all agree many of our modern conveniences would be sorely missed. Though new technology always seems advantageous at first, we must be reminded that over time, with proper scrutiny we see that technological advances often come with adverse effects. Initially, the television seemed to provide a tool to spread the gospel more effectively than ever before possible. However, with it has come a polarizing form of entertainment that has thwarted the church of God. The TV can be a tool for evangelism, but its long term effect has created great harm to the American family and to the Christian life. The automobile is one of the most life-changing inventions of the twentieth century. Our church buses provide transportation for children to attend Sunday school and many souls have been saved as w result. People can commute to church quickly, conveniently and from great distances. Yet the structure of our homes has changed by commuters fighting traffic on the freeway and parents transporting their children to a myriad of activities. Perhaps the automobile has done more to change our society than any other modern invention. Many homes are not better with all the new technology. Some are much worse.

Other than the automobile, the computer has changed life more than anyone could have ever imagined. It has changed our telephones to become instant means of communication and it has provided the world wide web where volumes of information can be gathered in a moment. Unfortunately, it has also provided access to worldliness and impurity. In addition, it has also become a time waster. Preachers must be careful not to spend all their time blogging and perfecting their web site while the world is going to hell. We are prone to believe that new technologies are always better than the old. Tim Challies rightly states, "Every technology brings with it both risk and opportunity; every technology solves some problems while also introducing new ones, it opens up new opportunities even while imposing some new kinds of limitation."

Every young man starting a church and pastoring in this new century must weigh the risks and rewards of all new technology. I would remind every reader that the days of great revival occurred without most of our modern technology. I am not suggesting to avoid the use of technology, merely to realize the limitation of it. New technology must never be allowed to replace the guiding and working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Take into consideration that no technology can replace old fashioned soul-winning, prayer, and biblical preaching. To stray from our roots of fundamentalism only leads to failure.

Having warned you of the risks, let me now recognize that there are tools afforded to us that can aid our ministry. Are there tools to aid in the starting of a new church that can be beneficial? The simple answer is, yes. Designing and operating a web site has become the primary means of people finding a church. Every new church should have one and it should be professionally designed and maintained. Digital printing is now available and can be priced and purchased on the internet from anywhere in the country. Post cards can be designed and mailed for you to any select group of people or to a town of your choice. This is a far cry from the old mimeograph machine my wife operated and the old addressing machine that weighed 500 pounds. A GPS is useful for volunteers to find the streets to canvass and Google maps can be printed from a personal PC and updated as every home on each street is contacted. Also communication can be made by cell phones to keep people connected so that while canvassing an area no one is ever far from help.

The preacher's sermon preparation has been greatly influenced by technology. Sermon material is easily accessible by computer programs and commentary material is only a click away. Sermons can be printed on a word processor and texts copied and pasted to it. Preachers must be careful today to actually study the Bible rather than copying and pasting material. There is no excuse for any preacher of God simply to copy and paste complete sermons from internet resources. There is a big difference between finding resource material, helpful comments, and sermons ideas, rather than copying someone else's sermon. Even with today's technology, I find myself spending more time in study, so as not to cheat my members from the spiritual help they seek.

In the coming years more technology will come and with it will come additional risks. Every preacher must carefully weigh those risks and benefits and in the end recognize that all that is new in not necessarily better. At times I desire to regress to the "good ole days" when life was simple and the home more intact. But, we do live in the twenty-first century and it is our responsibility to properly evaluate and balance these new trends.