Church of the Future?

I got this email forwarded to me this morning:

CHURCH SERVICES OF THE FUTURE

PASTOR: “Praise the Lord!”

CONGREGATION: “Hallelujah!”

PASTOR: “Will everyone please turn on their tablet, PC, iPad, smart phone, and Kindle Bibles to 1 Cor 13:13.

And please switch on your Bluetooth to download the sermon.”

P-a-u-s-e……

“Now, Let us pray committing this week into God’s hands.

Open your Apps, BBM, Twitter and Facebook, and chat with God”

S-i-l-e-n-c-e

“As we take our Sunday tithes and offerings, please have your credit and debit cards ready.”

“You can log on to the church wi-fi using the password ‘Lord909887. ‘ “

The ushers will circulate mobile card swipe machines among the worshipers:

  • Those who prefer to make electronic fund transfers are directed to computers and laptops at the rear of the church.
  • Those who prefer to use iPads can open them.
  • Those who prefer telephone banking, take out your cellphones to transfer your contributions to the church account.

The holy atmosphere of the Church becomes truly electrified as ALL the smart phones, iPads, PCs and laptops beep and flicker!

Final Blessing and Closing Announcements…

  • This week’s ministry cell meetings will be held on the various Facebook group pages where the usual group chatting takes place. Please log in and don’t miss out.
  • Thursday’s Bible study will be held live on Skype at 1900hrs GMT. Please don’t miss out.
  • You can follow your Pastor on Twitter this weekend for counseling and prayers.
  • God bless you and have nice day!

Now, I will tell you that this email was sent to me by someone who CLEARLY doesn’t understand the technology that we have today.  And judging by the REPLY ALL emails I received later, not many on the distribution list understand technology either (first of all how to not REPLY ALL – grrrr…).  One such reply even went so far as to reference the coming of the end times just because people bring their phones out in church.

My friend, Helene, has a wonderful post on this subject here. I know there are many people (teens and adults) who have their phones and tablets out during church.  Perhaps you have seen someone like that in your own congregation.  Perhaps you’ve seen ME with my phone or iPad out at church.  Perhaps you’ve silently judged those people (or me), assuming they are texting friends, or disrespectfully ignoring the worship service they are sitting in.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that no one uses their technology to distract them from worship.  BUT – I will tell you that not every person on their mobile device in church is up to trouble.  In my own case, I have started “live tweeting” our worship services.  When Matt says something during the sermon that I want to remember later, I get on Twitter, and send a tweet with that phrase.  People who follow me often comment on it or share it with their followers.  When was the last time you told all of your friends what your pastor said in a sermon?  I also like to take pictures during service, and share those photos on Instagram.  Maybe it’s the lyrics that are on the screen, or it’s the youth group who just returned from their mission trip – whatever my picture is, the people who follow me see it.  They see what is going on inside my church.  When was the last time you showed your friends something that was important to you?

And electronic giving?  We’re trying that at our church too.  Maybe older generations don’t understand it, but younger generations like mine don’t tend to carry their checkbook with them everywhere they go.  We pay for things with debit cards, PayPal, etc.  And giving to our church is happening whether we are writing a check or paying online.  In fact, I would argue that a lot of younger people are giving more frequently because they are able to do so online by setting up recurring payments.

The church today is caught in the middle of “how things used to be” and “how things are probably going to be soon.”  We have all generations coming in our doors to worship God.  We need to be welcoming to all of these people – whether they carry a “proper” leather and paper bible or if they use the YouVersion app on their iPad; whether they put cash in the offering plate, or pass it because they have already given their tithe online.

The next time you see someone using their phone or tablet in church, ask them after the service what they found interesting about the sermon.  Chances are they were sharing their thoughts on the service with their friends and interacting with others about Christ.  These devices that are “ushering in the end times” are probably in actuality supporting the faith journey of people giving to God and sharing their faith with others.

iphone-leaning-psalm

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