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Technology as a Smokescreen: Cultivating a Spirit of Innovation and Openness to Change in Our Churches

But technology innovation in the Church is just a smokescreen. This is really a conversation about change—whether we will embrace what can make us better or reject new ideas that threaten what we believe our churches ought to look like. In a world that increasingly believes the Bible and its adherents to be outdated, irrelevant, or even hostile, how should the Church respond when technology has permanently altered the way our culture relates, connects, and converses? We should thoughtfully embrace it (with the key word here being thoughtfully). We can begin by asking questions:

  • How can this be used to glorify God?
  • Does it solve current challenges?
  • Does it work?
  • Is it a better use of resources than what we currently employ?
  • Does it follow, support, or contradict biblical principles?
  • Does it support core principles of discipleship and growth?
  • Do we have a way to know if it accelerates our mission?
  • What processes need to change when we implement this? How can we ensure success?
  • Does its use present a stumbling block or risk? If so, are there ways to effectively mitigate?
  • Does its use increase exposure or liability for the church? If so, are we prepared?

Several millennia ago, the Apostle Paul understood the need to change for the sake of a world in need: “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some,” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

Although it may be unsettling as we step into uncharted territory, the winds of change are happening all around us and the Church is finding innovative ways to witness and disciple a new generation. For instance, several years ago, leaders of some of the largest evangelical organizations came together to draft a statement on Artificial Intelligence (AI), writing, “We desire to equip the church to proactively engage the field of AI, rather than responding to these issues after they have already affected our communities.”

This kind of thinking allows the Church to be a holy disruptor of sorts. As crisis continues to loom for so many in our world—through physical, emotional, financial, and/or relational threats—we have the tools to follow Jesus to help those in our churches and those who are far from faith. This is the ultimate aim of the Church—that we would be a people willing to employ whatever means available to help a world in need.

Change, they say, is inevitable. True. And sometimes, as history has shown, change can be good and can lead to greater kingdom impact than we can imagine. It’s time we prepare our hearts to move forward as God leads.