Online Attendance Down? Here Are 4 Ways to Re-Engage Your Church
Is your church's online attendance down? You're not alone. Here are four things you can do to re-engage your church.
June 2, 2020
Here's a brief examination of Bible verses about technology to help guide the use of technology in your life and church.
September 17, 2018
You can’t escape technology.
It’s a part of your everyday life.
Not in a scary sense like being watched by Big Brother from George Orwell’s classic book 1984. But in the sense that technology plays an essential role in your daily life.
From the time you wake up to the moment you hit the bed at night, you will live beneath the umbrella of technology. From the lights in your house, the smartphone in your pocket, and the clothes on your back, you benefit from technology.
Not only does technology play a significant role in your life. It also has a ubiquitous role in the presence of your church. Your worship facility, the church management software you use, your church app, and your online giving platform are all testaments to the benefits of technology you enjoy.
Since technology is akin to the air we breathe, some people are hitting the proverbial pause button and asking:
Are there downsides to technology?
Is the growing influence of social media (information technology) bad for the Church?
Regardless if you consider yourself a futurist or envision life on the prairie, these are insightful questions you need to ask.
To get the right answer to these questions, you have to examine Bible verses about technology to get the lowdown from God. It’s a good idea to hear what others have to say about this topic. But knowing what God has to say about technology is the anchor that will help you to navigate the use of technology in your life and the life of your church.
To help you find your way, in this post, we’re going to talk about:
Ready to get started?
Alright, let’s dig in.
When it comes to talking about technology in the Bible, there are firm opinions for or against technology.
Often, when talking about technology, it’s easy to talk past someone because you’re not actually talking about the same thing since there are so many nuances to the conversation. So, to make sure we’re starting off on equal footing, let me first start off by defining technology.
According to Merriam-Webster, technology is the invention of useful things to solve problems. To this definition, I’d also add that technology can include the creation of things that make life easier.
This is a broad definition of technology, and it can encompass many facets like communication technology (social media), computer software, and aerodynamics. To flesh this out, let's explore a few examples.
First, think about the words you’re reading in this post.
Did you know that the alphabet is considered a form of communication technology?
Think about it.
There was a time when the English alphabet didn’t exist. If English is your native language, speaking and reading it may feel as natural as the air you breathe. But it wasn’t until the 5th century when the roots of the written English language began to take shape.
Like every other written language, the English language was created to solve the problem of communication between a specific people group.
What about this blog post you’re reading?
I wrote this post on my computer and published it through what is called a content management system (CMS) so that you can read it on your phone, tablet, or computer. To save us both time and our sanity, I’m not even going to attempt to convey the many technological advances that needed to occur over hundreds of years to afford me the opportunity to write on my computer and for you to read this post on your device of choice.
As for additional examples, I can go on. But I think you get the point. If not, then here’s the deal:
Technology is simply the application of knowledge to create useful things to solve problems or make life easier.
So, for better or worse, this means it's nearly impossible for you to avoid the influence of technology. But don’t worry. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, you can read about many examples of technology in the Bible.
God isn’t averse to technology.
For starters, God chose to communicate with us in such a way that we could understand what he was saying. He didn't pursue us with a mystical form of communication that required a decoder to understand.
God chose to reveal himself to us through the languages we developed—in particular, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, which are the three languages used to write the Bible.
Not only is this the case, but from Genesis to Revelation, we observe many uses of technology in the Bible. Here’s just a sampling of what we see:
God isn’t a hardliner when it comes to using technology to further his purposes. In other words, he isn't entirely for or against technology. But this doesn’t mean that God is a-okay with however we decide to use technology. He calls us to use technology for his glory and our good (1 Cor. 10:31)—not for the destruction of his creation or people.
In sharing the gospel, we find one of the most defining marching orders for the Church in Paul’s words to the church at Corinth:
“To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” (1 Cor. 9:22).
By following this admonition from Paul, the Church has leveraged technological advances throughout the past two millennia to reach people with the gospel, including:
I understand there are discussions surrounding the pros and cons of different types of communication technology—most notably today the influence of social media. Regardless of what you think about the impact of social media, here’s what you need to know about the Church’s use of technology throughout history:
The Church could not have reached as many people with the gospel without the benefits of technology.
Not only has the Church benefited from information technology, but the Church has also benefited from other forms of technology, including:
Today, from social media and the Internet, there’s an explosion of new innovative communication tools your church can use to connect with people. How much time or money you devote to these tools will depend upon the bandwidth of your staff, volunteers, and budget. But as you use these new tools, there are two significant limitations to technology you need to be aware of, which leads us to the next point.
There are countless benefits technology has provided.
Over the years, we’ve observed...
There are many problems technology has solved, and there will be many more problems remedied by technology in the future. But despite the progress we’ve made with technology, there are two glaring problems it cannot resolve:
Advancements in communication tools can help us share the gospel, connect with more people, and stay in touch with our family and friends. But technology cannot share the gospel for us or replace the need for in-person relationships. To make disciples, there is a need for the Church to have a physical presence. At its core, the Church is an assembly of people who gather together with each other in person.
Not only is this the case, but your local church is needed to administer the sacraments, lead people to live and love like Jesus, and help the poor, which is only possible if people are physically present.
As you connect with people on social media, podcast your sermons, or broadcast your sermons, keep an eye on how you and your church can lead people to connect with you in person, and how you can physically reach out to people in your community.
Technology finds its roots in God.
God is the Creator.
So he created...
Since you have been created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28), this means—in general—you resemble God.
Think about it.
Do you desire community?
Do you have a sense of justice when something is wrong?
Do you have an instinct to create?
These instincts find their roots in God, and they were passed along to you from him.
Being created in the image of a Creator means you can create, which simply means you can come up with new ideas and make something. From baking a cake to developing a sophisticated piece of software, you possess the ability to create.
As you dream.
As you follow a vision.
As you create useful tools to solve problems, you are reflecting God in your creation.
As new technology is developed or old technology is improved upon, we can trace it back to God as the Creator and Sustainer of everything.
Technology is a mixed bag of blessings and curses.
On the one hand, technology has solved numerous problems around the world, it has alleviated many diseases, and it has improved the quality of life for billions of people. On the other hand, technology can be used to inflict pain and suffering, and it can lead to unintended consequences.
But here’s the deal:
Technology must be redeemed for the glory of God, your good, and the good of others.
Technology cannot be simply rejected, demonized, or even mindlessly accepted and used. For your technological usage, you need to do so discerningly, and with an open hand knowing that technology is not the solution to every problem—but it is a vehicle to share the gospel and do good for others.
Finally, as you reflect upon technology in the Bible, here’s a list of Bible verses about technology, examples of technology, and how you should consider relating to technology:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
The LORD said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you.
And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze… He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer.
In Jerusalem he made machines, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and great stones. And his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong.
It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,
O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.
It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.
“You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.
I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith.
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”
By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”