I often marvel when I think about the way technology has changed the way we communicate and transact business. From mobile communication to online shopping and banking, the list goes on. We are now able to communicate faster and carry out various tasks at the touch of a button, almost anywhere and at any time.
Christianity has definitely not been left out of this revolution. Churches are now able to maximise the use of technology to create various effects and atmospheres of worship for their congregation. There is absolutely no doubt about it – technology has changed the way we conduct our church services. Barely 10 years ago, going to church on a Sunday morning was the norm for most Christians but if you were unable to make the service for whatever reasons, then you would have totally missed out on the service.
The story is quite different today. In recent times, I have seen many Christians, including myself, decide not to go to church for various reasons just because they could watch online. A lot of churches now have the facility for live streaming of their services on their websites, as well as online chat rooms. Viewers can chat with each other or post questions or comments during the service. Online viewers are also able to make donations or give an offering online during the services. Also, if for some reason, you missed the live streaming, the recording is saved online and anyone can watch it on-demand. This is such a handy tool as you don’t even have to be a member of a church to be a part of their services. You can watch at any time and from anywhere in the world.
I wonder if people no longer come to church with their bibles and if people read their Bibles less as scriptures are displayed on screens during services
Church services are not the only meetings which have gone digital. A lot of churches also have conference call prayer meeting and bible studies. The bible study outline sometimes get emailed to subscribers in advance or is available online. Not all churches have their own buildings and have to rent places for their Sunday services. Having online meetings allows removes the additional cost of rent. There are so many reasons why people may be unable to attend mid-week services and prayer meeting – family and work commitments, distance, etc. Online meetings and conference calls also allows people who can’t physically attend due to various reasons participate in the meetings.
For others who can physically attend services, multimedia and technology has provided various visual aids and effect to enhance our worship experience. Bible passages and song lyrics are displayed on screens – so everyone can read or sing together from the same version. These are some of the ways technology has changed the way we conduct our services.
While there are a lot of advantages to this, I sometimes wonder if we have gone a little overboard. Are there areas where we need to look out for and ensure we are able to strike the right balance? For instance, has on-line streaming of services resulted in a decline in the number of people attending church? Can it replace the need for fellowship with one another? How easy is it to tell if someone is going through a challenge if a lot of people are joining services online? Also, I wonder if people no longer come to church with their bibles and if people read their Bibles less as scriptures are displayed on screens during services.
While I believe churches should take advantage of the available technology in order to enhance worship and reach out to more people, we should not allow these things take the place of individual bible study and fellowship. Coming together to worship is still a very integral part of our worship and shows commitment to God and the body of Christ.
Written by Foluso Aloko
Foluso is a Senior Consultant in ICT, with a passion to bring praise and glory to God, inspire, encourage and motivate others through music, service and creativity.