Today, if we mix Christians and technology, we can have positive effects. Or, if overdone, we can actually drive people away.
Technology typically receives two different perspectives, but research reveals some insights that make the optimistic view more beneficial than the pessimistic point of view.
Optimists see technology as a powerful tool and believe in it wholeheartedly – but not everyone has the same opinion. Pessimists see technology as detrimental to society and may even cause hopelessness.
Then there are those in the middle, a central view, which is usually a more neutral stance and advocates for the safe use of technological devices.
The Historical Benefits of Technology
We have definitely benefitted from the advancements in tech. It created roads for transportation, enabled the most powerful army in the world, and helped stabilize governments for common laws and language.
Without certain technological advancements, we probably wouldn’t have roads, transportation, and many other conveniences we often take for granted. Here are some historical examples:
In the mid 1400s, The printing press, invented in the mid-1400s, gave people access to material they may not have otherwise seen or heard, especially when it came to God’s Word. Martin Luther’s theological insights into Salvation and God’s grace spread farther and wider with the invention of the printing press.
In 1844 the first telegraph message sent by Samuel Morse read “What hath God wrought?”
The technological advancements since then are nothing less than amazing. Unbelievable advancements in medical science helps to find diseases and treatments earlier. Advanced tech enables those with lost limbs to walk again. And the list goes on.
More Current Technology and Its Benefits
All you have to do is think about computers and AI (Artificial Intelligence) and the list is virtually endless of the perks tech provides. For example, I hate wearing “medical” face masks that are supposed to “protect” yourself and others from contracting diseases. Not that they really work, but that’s another topic.
Tech allows me to have virtual doctor visits via computer, webcam and microphone. I love that! It makes life more convenient in some ways. Advancements in AI even help me to write better blog posts!
Technology also enables me to create images and videos of our Christian t-shirts, hoodies, and more, like the video and images in this blog post!
So Christians and technology work together very well when it comes to spreading the Gospel.
Christians and Technology and the Church Outreach
While many older people still prefer the calmness of the old traditional hymns accompanied by only a piano or organ, some prefer newer gospel songs played by a “band” with all the musical accompaniments.
Technology not only allows pastors to reach those who aren’t able to attend Sunday services in person; it also enables churches to reach the masses. Facebook and YouTube live streaming benefit both the church and its parishioners.
This tech was especially important during the Covid-19 scare over the last couple of years. Churches that opted to close their doors to in-person services, provided they had the tech available to do so, launched virtual services. Anyone with a computer and internet at home could still participate in church services and chats with their friends.
Today, spreading the Gospel isn’t limited to your local community. Christians and technology go hand-in-hand in reaching millions or even billions when it comes to global outreach.
But we can’t deny the negative effects of consistently evolving technology since Christians aren’t the only people using it.
The Negative Side of Tech
And there are several, but I’ll just discuss a couple here.
I’m sure we’ve all been somewhere when the internet has a glitch. Grocery stores can only take cash and not credit cards. Some companies send their workers home if the office tech goes down. Tech in vehicles can have a detrimental affect on drivers if something inside the vehicle computer glitches.
Some churches with the availability of advanced tech go a bit too far in their production aspects while speaking the Gospel truth becomes secondary to the entertainment. If a visitor to a modern church mentions that the production part of the service was worth more than the message, that church has problems.
The staff at Bible-believing, God-fearing churches should not pay higher attention to their tech than they do to serving God. Our church uses a fair amount of technology. We have the ability to livestream; we have private groups on Facebook and tech aids our Worship Team to be the best in our county (in my personal, biased opinion).
However, our main focus is spreading God’s word and bringing as many souls to the Lord as possible. We still use low-budget, non-tech skits in some of our services and the key message from the Word takes up more time than the entertainment.
And our church continues to grow!
Only Watching Church Services Online
If a church relies more on the production and entertainment aspects, especially in what are called “mega churches,” some visitors may feel a sense of loss and isolation when coming to church.
Some churches with huge video screens do more than display the worship song lyrics or particular announcements. They actually turn into visual distractions rather than simply providing information.
Some people may decide to use technology for convenience. They can just go to church from home instead of gathering with their fellow believers in worship.
How Should Christians Live with Technology?
In moderation. In ways that don’t distract others from the main messages of God’s word. Tech should never be in first position over the Lord and what He wants.
So while we should never simply reject the technological advances of the time, we must follow the teachings of Jesus. We can live “in the world” and use the world’s tools, but we must not be “of the world.”
15 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
We should also unplug ourselves once in a while. Take a weekend away where there is no cell or internet service and just enjoy God’s nature. Or get together for an evening of worship with others in the church but away from your computers and cell phones.
God is Good and technology is a tool that He allowed to be developed and used to prove His goodness!
For more about technology as it relates to everyday life and Christianity, read The Effect of Technology on Christianity