Technology in itself is neither good nor bad.
As stated in Colossians 1:15-16
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
It is how technology is used that determines if it is beneficial to humanity or detrimental to our well being. It is undoubtedly a miracle that so many vaccines are available in such a short period of time. The sense of common purpose created by the Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan - also called the Covax initiative - which is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations demonstrates the unlimited potential of humanity.
Christians have never hesitated to use proven technology but have rarely been at the forefront of technology adoption. Jesus and his disciples did wear sandals!
The early Christians did not build church buildings; they gathered in homes of believers. The first known church building, the Dura-Europos church was a house that was first used between 233 and 256.
However, when technology has proved beneficial Christians have not hesitated to seize the moment and use it to propagate the faith. Billy Graham gave a well known Ted Talk. Pope Francis also has spoken about technologies ability to do beautiful things.
The technology that surrounds us today provides a wide range of products and services, customer services and provides massive employment in small businesses to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
We can share information or in the jargon of today share content. Technology is a vital tool to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The Digital Church Platform® was created to enable Christians and their churches to share the Good News with their congregation and in their parish, diocese and beyond to the community.
It allows the Good News to compete in the digital era as search engines don’t rank website content on its goodness but based on a secret algorithm.
Imagine if every day, everyone automatically received good news, what somebody did to make the world a better place. Imagine if the social media sites and social networks only showed the best of humanity, and one had to dig deeper to see our dark side. The world would be a much better place.
Imagine if all of the marketing efforts only encouraged behaviour that was good for people, and the brand awareness of products and services that built us up were so high that there was little room for those brands that take us down.
The Digital Church Platform® is a technology tool that is user friendly. We spend most of our time trying to make it even easier to use based on feedback from our small but growing community of congregants, church administrators, priests, churchwardens, deans and deacons.
It provides a platform to share beautiful stories - written, audio, visual - photos and videos, podcasts and apps, sermons and books. It connects with all type of social media.
We are now pleased to announce we are also providing the technology to live stream services and other events the churches on the platform would like.
We investigated several live streaming platforms - Facebook, youtube, Vimeo and a custom option. We discussed with our users what they were looking for in a platform. The simplicity and ease of use of our platform were a perfect complement with Vimeo.
The new practice of mixed-mode services is in its infancy although it does seem to be the talk of the town at the moment.
It is important to remember that the Christian worship service its origins in Jewish worship.
Jesus was often referred to as “rabbi” which means teacher in Hebrew. Jesus and his disciples discussed many things, prayed and sung hymns together.
Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was running across the Eastern Mediterranean “planting” churches as we would say today. The face to face contact was so crucial, although it is clear Paul’s letters (a technology itself) were a tool he used to encourage and persuade early followers of Christ. Imagine what could he have done with digital media!
Slowly, in the first century, the services we know today began to take shape. Nearly 2000 years later, during the 1960s, there were significant changes to what constituted a service, although its core has never changed - seeking the peace and blessings of Christ.
It will take time to learn to engage digitally, and elements of the service will need to be reviewed and reflected on if it is to become an ongoing and vital part of a Christian’s daily or weekly routine.
It may surprise you to know that the first church service was broadcast on the radio nearly 100 years ago on 2nd January 1921 from the Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. The first religious broadcast in the UK was one year late in 1922.
Is live streaming so much different to watching a service on TV or listening to a radio broadcast? At the moment, no, there is not a significant difference in the experience.
However, imagine what is possible if a service is designed for live streaming and in person. What elements of the service can be experienced digitally in a manner that begins to feel like being at the service in person? How do people interact and engage? How can we share the joy of worshipping together?
Of course, just by being digitally present is in itself a communal experience. Completely different than watching a service broadcast on TV.
However, there are many lessons to be learned from TV productions - the importance of camera angles for one. Imagine if each church had three camera angles - one on the congregation, one on the priest and one on the choir. What an incredible experience it would be for the zoomers of tomorrow.
The Digital Church Platform® recently conducted a survey of churches in a significant urban centre and found that nearly have of churches in the diocese were offering live streaming. It is interesting to note that almost 30% required pre-approval to access. Would a church close its doors on Sundays to only those who pre-registered? Of course, there must be proper safeguards in place which comes to the role of a digital sideperson.
We look forward to working with the community of churches to strengthen digital engagement further.
We will be holding a webinar early in the new year to look at how churches have improved their use of social media during 2020. If you are interested in registering, please click here.
As concerns about another Christmas spent in lockdown arise, we consider whether Christmas can truly be cancelled.
To build a church community, you must meet people where they are - and many are on LinkedIn. Gain greater influence in your community by connecting with local leaders and influencers and showing them what your church is all about.
In this age we live in, it seemed for a long time that there was a space for everyone on the internet except Christians and the Church. However, to quote one of Ernest Hemingway’s characters “gradually then suddenly”, the presence of Christianity on the internet has exploded.