Reading this article as a Technical Director of a decently sized church for the past five years, some things really resonated with me. The idea of silence. Of just taking a moment to sit in a service and take in a calm and quiet moment. That sounds so refreshing and needed. But at the same time, I was asking myself, is technology the problem here or is the true problem finding ways to rejuvenate spiritually when working in a demanding ministry context.
The part of the article that really gave me pause was when you said that “Technology is not neutral. It is biased and has an agenda.” Is it the technology that has the agenda or is how it is being used? In my context I see technology as an extremely valuable tool. Now, like all things, tools can be misused. In a church context, technology, lighting, video, audio, LED walls, etc. should not be pointing to themselves saying, “look how flashy and mind-blowing I am.” but pointing people to experiencing something greater than themselves. Pointing to an encounter with the true and living God of the universe. I am not naive enough to say that every church that uses technology has used it correctly. I have sometimes fallen into the trap of, “Oh this is cool, how can I use it?”
But when we leverage, for example, video to share how God is working in someone’s life, putting that person in a context where they can be interviewed in the comfort of their own home, where they have a chance to speak things clearly and repeat them if needed, just to be able to communicate effectively with those viewing, is that wrong? Is my fancy camera and expensive microphone saying, “look at how good I make that person look on screen.” Not at all! It isn’t saying anything, but I as the user am using it to share and tell an incredible work that God is doing in someone’s life in a compelling and engaging way.
Our culture is plugged in. People watch movies. Listen to music on fancy devices. Hear podcasts about any topic you can imagine. From a cultural perspective, at least in my opinion, technology is not going away. Why not leverage it to point to the God of the universe! Let’s redeem the lighting, the audio, the video and do it in an excellent way so that people can meet with God! We also have a weekly review, not to jam on the people running our services, but to constantly improve in what we do so that everything points to what we are communicating with this technology with no distraction. Because we understand, the potential for distraction is HUGE!
God has called me to sacrifice what I need on a weekend service and I have had to learn how I can get spiritually filled up outside of those services. For me, that is to unplug on Mondays, jump on a bike or something and ride into the woods and pray. Walking my dog in the morning and reaching out to God. Listening to podcasts of other Pastors I respect. Being filled spiritually is important. Let’s not blame the technology and the demands it require to keep operating well for our lack of spiritual nourishment. Let’s get filled up and redeem the tools that we have before us for the sake of advancing the Kingdom.