As Published in Ministries Matters Magazine Nov/Dec 2022 Edition
I am SUPER EXCITED!!!! Can't you tell? I am exuberantly expectant about what God doing in this season!!! He's brought us a mighty long ways from 2020! Isn't it funny (now - in retrospect) how God completely flipped the script on us!!! We were all headed into 2020 with our corny "Vision" church themes for the new year (insert laugh here) and God says, " You ain't seen nothing yet!"
In a matter of hours, our world was shut down. The entire NBA season halted mid-game! Banks sent the tellers home! Families were forced to be in the house all at the same time! And we struggled to do church with no physical congregation for TWO WHOLE YEARS!!!!
Then, ReThinking Church was birthed and the world got a dose of LaKesha Womack! Maaaaaan...did she ever get us all together in an incredible way! We've since developed as a whole community of ministry superheroes - everybody with their specialized superpowers (thumbs down to the spandex though)! And we've continued to evolve into something amazing! And it's marvelous in our eyes!
So...I've been tapped as the village's Tech Geek for Jesus! That's a pretty hefty name tag to embrace because I'm certain there are many geekier (or more geekish) people amongst us who's shoes I am unworthy to un-lace, buckle, zip or even slide (for the Crocs community)! But, I'll do the best I can to be the best I can at telling you what might best work in your best case scenario of ministry! I'll get some help along the way from some real-life geeks who have actually developed the innovation and technology - I'm just good at talking about it so that not-so-geeky people can understand!
But before we get started down this slippery silicone slope of Systematic sustainability, let me get this one thing straight! Though I am truly engulfed in tech on a daily basis in various industries, I have learned that you can only appreciate innovation and technology to its capacity if you have a relationship with God! Neo, I know you though that you meeting Morpheus and the Oracle was the ticket to success. You thought your new folding Android made you amazing, or that your iPhone 14 PRO made you "Apple-stolic" (talk about corny)! Somewhere in your 10 Terabyte temple-area you thought your IMAG with the newest version of Pro-Presenter was going to increase your VIP status in the "Heavenly Geek Squad"! But we have not yet seen the architecture of a device that can create a full scale working model of earth in 6 days! We've got machines that can help us breathe, but not one person has ever been able to explain how what we breathe works to sustain dust and keep it's heart pumping red and blue blood into various tubes as images are reflected through lenses that trigger reactions sent lightning fast through waves in our medulla oblangada! HE is the God of Creation and Innovation! He caused water to flow from a rock, made a GPS out of clouds and fire, showed up in bush on fire but not burning, made a big fish swallow Jonah, but not digest him, and gave each and ever one of us a unique identifier on each finger and toe!!! Ain't He GOOD!!!!
Here's a gentle reminder that technology is only used to apply concepts in a more efficient way! It is NOT, however, going to teach you the who, what, where, why, when or how to do effective ministry!
1) If you don't understand classical Evangelism methods that include talking to people and using a paper Bible, then blasting out a text campaign ain't really gonna help you grow!
2) If you've never submitted yourself to a Discipleship process, an all-in-one app may help you take attendance, but it will NOT make true disciple-makers!
3) Installing line-array speakers, LED screens, motion lights and hazers will produce an engaging visual environment, but they'll only see Jesus if there's ministry available after the lights are turned off!
Though I'm excited about illuminating new trends in tech and innovation, I don't want us to dive so deep that the main thing ain't the main thing! We're here to win souls! Our job is to do the commission and commandment! I am not a proponent for presenting ring pop ministry in a Tiffany box! So as much as I plan to excite you with the "wonders of the what's new and next" let's commit first to our mandate: "leading people to a real relationship with Christ"!
Consider this: Now that you've upgraded your cameras and replaced your PC's with MAC'S, what would you do if God broke the internet? What could you buy to replace the "likes and follows" that some now think validate good ministry? Are you just as vigilant without the technology as you are with it? Would you still be committed to "reaching the masses" if social media didn't make it convenient?
I'm excited about what God's doing in this season and look forward to what He's gonna do next! But let's contend to never forget how we got here! Let's continue teaching new generations where to find Malachi in a paper bible! With the steady downsloping trend of attention span, scripture memorization has plummeted as well! If we're contending to hide the word in out hearts, we might need to be able to find it through flipping and not just scrolling! To imagine, prior to the Guttenburg printing press, we'd only be able to recite what we've remembered!
I wonder what model iPad they're using in heaven!
Now we're ReThinking Church...for real!