My wife and I are enjoying a pastor and wives' retreat this week. We have gathered with our colleagues from around New England to enjoy powerful times of worship and inspiring sermons. I made an interesting observation during the last two sermons. The speaker, who is quite the Spirit-filled preacher, has said at the start of both of his sermons "Please turn in your Bibles to . . . " I have used that phrase on many occasions myself to start a sermon.
But the observation that I made was that the people on both sides of me had electronic Bibles loaded on their cell phones or kindle readers. Though they did follow along as the speaker read his text, they could not actually "turn" in their Bibles. It was more like "scrolling" to the right place on the screen.
As technology moves from the workplace into everyday life, it is transforming how we do the most basic things, such as reading the Bible and listening to sermons. Using electronic versions of the Bible to follow along during sermons are just one example of how technology is transforming our spiritual lives. I am mentoring a young man who is just starting out in ministry. When it came time to study for his first sermon, he did not ask to borrow any of my reference books, instead he just needed the password for WiFi at church. He mostly used online resources to prepare his sermon. Even many traditional churches are now using technology in worship by projecting the words to the hymns on the wall. Each of these examples demonstrate how technology is transforming our religious experiences.
Technology is making a difference in our churches, whether we realize it or not. The challenge for pastors and other Christian leaders is to make sure we use technology in scriptural ways. Those same tools can be used for great evil if we do not guard our hearts and minds and stay immersed in the Word. So embrace all the technology available, but use it in ways that honor Christ.