The Church and Technology [video]

This week, I was honored to be featured as a conversation partner at, where Cynthia Holder Rich is hosting some great digital conversations about the intersection of faith and life..

Share on FacebookShare

6 thoughts on “The Church and Technology [video]

  1. Hey man, you stole my uniform.

    That being said, I shudder when I see a screen at the front of the church because usually there are “technical difficulties” as people try to figure out how why the volume isn’t working or why “VIDEO 1” keeps blinking on the screen where a really inspirational Youtube video should be…

    You’re bang on, in my opinion, about how we use technology is more important than using it for the sake of being “savvy.” Our website is for information and for people taking a peek at our church. Our church Facebook page is great for connecting and getting word out. And Twitter? Well let’s just say it lets me connect with non-church people more than it does church people, and also to connect with “colleagues” since I’m not in a team ministry staff.

    Thanks for articulating this.

    • Right! The only thing worse than folks bending unreflectively to the allure of tech is not treating it with enough respect to make it actually work.

      I’ve learned a lot from both Rushkoff and Rob Bell, who’s slides (when he uses them) are simply black and white. Simplicity rules.

  2. Landon, your comments are thought provoking. But I guess the teacher side of me pulls in a different direction in regard to “screens in the sanctuary.” I don’t think screens need to fill our worship with powerpoint slides. But I think they are helpful in driving points home. Everyone growing up today tend to be visual learners. Most worship services are almost exclusively auditory experiences. So, even if you interview young people and they say they don’t care about having screens in worship, I think churches will reach them in a deeper way if they can connect visuals to what they are hearing.

    Overall though, you are right on target regarding the use of technology and its purpose. The church is about building relationships and technology is simply a tool to make that happen.

  3. Landon,

    I had the opportunity to hear you speak a while back and thought that we might have a good deal in common. I’m a tech consultant by profession and have been working with my own church for years. That has led me to spending time with other churches in the area helping them define and create their electronic/online presence.

    In your talk, you were exceptionally vague and I hoped that some of your other works would be less so. Unfortunately I’m finding a real lack of substance. Your video (like your others) doesn’t deal with the depth of these issues and the complexity of the situations. Your basic statement of “we should use technology” and “young people don’t mind video screens in the sanctuary” are so trite that I’m not sure what it lends to the dialog. It sounds to me like someone posting a video saying, “let’s stop global warming” or “boy, taxes sure are high”.

    In my work with churches, these are more complex and difficult issues. The aging pastorate has not always grown up with a comfort level with these technologies or an inate understanding of how they might be utilized. They WANT to use them; they just need help understanding how it can enhance their ministry.

    Also, we must ask if this is additive or if it replaces some other work already being done. In a period of shrinking budgets and fewer staff positions, it is difficult to find time to take on additional work. We have created teams of congregants that head up much of this work. However, we also fight segmenting the congregation. Young members don’t engage with their faith through technology and many older members don’t use the technology at all. A recent study heralded the Death of Twitter among our youth and have relegated it to a “thirty-something thing”. So that leaves us finding alternative methods of conveying the same information to the other groups or risk creating populations who are “in the know” and those who are “out of the loop”. This leads us back to technology work being “additive”.

    I agree with you that it is imperative that we (as a church) embrace technology, but I don’t buy your argument that it’s disrespectful to people that are more tech savvy if we don’t. I think your farmer analogy is illogical and not parallel. One is a person’s profession and one is a preferred communications method. It’s disrespectful if I say I don’t care about you and your chosen profession. It’s not disrespectful if I send you a letter instead of an email.

    With the many blessings of online communications, the biggest downside is the fact that anyone can post whatever they like. The sheer volume of material is growing at an exponential rate. Finding something of value among messages which are either factually incorrect or completely unhelpful is becoming increasingly difficult.

    I hope you spend a little more time focusing on your message and digging into the multiple layers of these issues instead of just throwing something up quickly. Like another viewer observed about a previous post, these aren’t simple issues and posting videos that boil it all down to a sound bite so you can zoom in for dramatic effect doesn’t really add to the dialog. In the world of communications, it’s what we call “noise” and it distracts us from other more salient messages.

    • Thanks, Steve, for taking the time to respond. Where did you hear me speak? Were we introduced?

      I agree with you that there are a lot of factors one can take into account in talking about any subject. As a communicator, I have to make choices every time I speak/write/etc. as to what I’m trying to accomplish. I’m sorry that you find my work thus far lacking, but I suppose that’s the price for trying to take the long view and build a body of work. I intend that the videos and writings taken together and as a whole will add up to something over time. This, of course, is different than putting up longer and more complex videos that few will take the time to view. I suppose only time will tell if that strategy pays off.

      I do want to let you know, however, that it has been hard to hear and then interpret your response. I don’t usually find words like “noise” and “trite” to be helpful and constructive. I am sorry that you did not find us to have more in common. In the main, I think I understand what you are trying to communicate and, while your expectation of what I need to be doing seems quite different than my own, I’ll try to stay attuned to the nuances of a situation given the parameters of the medium.

  4. Putting a Leash on Leviathan(?) « The e-Word in Season

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s