Technology revolutionises the Church

Technology revolutionises the Church

If you enter a Mormon Church, you'll come across a group of missionaries holding an iPad and although you might blame it on Millennials, the truth is that missionaries use those iPads for religious purposes. They use those iPads with contact one another, to keep the Book of Mormon and other religious books handy, and to organise their lives around the Church. Technology hasn't just impacted the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) but most Churches.

Whether it enhances the worship experience as projectors empower the words on screen or allow religious communities to stay in touch in their everyday lives, technology has proven to be a great addition to the church. Technology serves as a tool to empower the religious message and to allow to reach more people on a global scale. Social networks has also helped to advertise church programmes and seeking assistance for outreach programmes.

Technology has also impacted the church's ministry. Pastor Joan Gumbs of How Ya Livin' Now share 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 an also be found tweeting about the service on the Twitter platform, she shared.

According to Gumbs, this addiction to technology 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.

While technology has helped the church attract non-believers to their religion, it has also led to many believers falling into the trap of being distracted from God. As people's fascination with technology grows, their beliefs start to be replaced by Internet and new electronic devices.

In this day and age, even believers are so consumer by social media that they forget to pray at night or would say a quick prayer before falling asleep.

According to Gumbs, many Christians spend more time sharing Whatsapp chain messages than spreading the word of God. The fascination with social media is such that it even 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's common now to see parents enjoying the message while the child sits beside them engrossed in their tablets. Although it might seem like a negative occurrence, Gumbs begs to differ.

While it may seem counter-productive giving children tables 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.

Meanwhile, social media can also hurt the church as members of the community might tweet or post on Facebook something they dislike about the church and that might go viral, 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."