I’d like to write a short response to Ed Stetzer’s article “12 Ways Tech Can Ignite Your Faith“, which recently appeared on churchleaders.com. I’d encourage you to give it a read, and see if you agree with him, or with me.

As you can guess, I have a different take on things than he does. Not necessarily better, but certainly different. First of all, I’m not really sure tech can ignite one’s faith. Perhaps it could ignite faith in what John Dyer identifies as the myth of technology in his latest book “From the Garden to the City.” But I doubt that is what Stetzer has in mind.

He begins by mentioning the ways internet technologies can ‘build community’. I’m not so sure that those are real communities, in the same sense that face to face communities are real. Again, as Dyer mentions those technologies could supplement face to face community, but they cannot really replace it.

Next he writes, “the ability and affordability to now simulcast sermons and conferences across the country and the world is a great benefit for the Kingdom,” but I disagree in part. It certainly does provide access where no access existed before. However, it is only a partial experience which is quite disconnected from normal interaction. He writes about broadcasting David Platt’s “Secret Church” to 50,000 people – but I’m quite certain the way those people experienced the teaching was very different from the way in which some of my family members who have attended the event experienced it. This is one area where I don’t totally disagree with Stetzer, Simulcasts and Video Venues are better than nothing. But they are like the experience of church on TV in the 80s – I doubt many people will switch to simulcast only church attendance and still grow in their faith. In fact I know many people who are frustrated at the attempts of Mega Churches to send video feeds of sermons to all of their campuses because it doesn’t feel “real”.

The Bible and Music are at our fingertips, but again the experience is different than it is in person, or with a real book. There’s something about seeing a Bible version or Bible app update that causes me to feel unsettled. Yet, I mostly read the Bible on my ereader because I like the form factor and the fact that I can read in the dark.

He then moves to describing increased use of video, but doesn’t really explain how this helps one in their faith, or a church grow. It might be “cool” but how does it ignite faith?

Promotion of events is one area that I think he is absolutely correct on. Social Media, and Calendar apps keep even the most absent minded people on schedule and at their appointments.

I’m not really familiar with what he calls “Church-Specific Social Networks”, as those have not made it to any churches in my county as of yet, so I’ll not waste time here.

Church apps are nice I suppose. Once again, the part I like isn’t that there is “an app for that” but that it allows the minister to communicate to the church at a fast pace. However, this does away with some of the personal feel, making the pastor seem like a celebrity that everyone follows on twitter as opposed to someone who knows their hurts and needs. This one has pros and cons, but I think its helpful overall.

Searchable Sermon Notes comes next. I’m a big-time promoter of digitizing your notes and stuff. I’ve talked about it before, so let’s just say I agree with Stetzer here.

He moves on to discussing how to follow conferences you don’t attend, but that seems to be the same as a “video venue” that he discussed before.

What he calls “instant accountability” seems detrimental to me, and not helpful. Perhaps that’s only because I see the bad more than the good in people I know on social networks. One frustrated facebook post could cause you to lose dozens of people from church, potentially causing them to lose faith. Ministers – be careful what you tweet.

He’s right to praise technology’s ability to help expand Resources for Missions and Church planting, and for helping people connect and pray for a specific area.

I’m not anti-technology by any means, I just think that Stetzer should be a little more careful in doling out praise of technology igniting faith or bible study.

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