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5 Technologies that Are Shaping the Church

5. Mobile Devices

I’ve always wanted to try audiobooks, but it wasn’t until I got the Audible app on my iPhone that I really fell in love with them. I also track my runs with RunKeeper, take great photos of my kids, and do all the other cool stuff we love about our smartphones.

And yet, when I take my kids to a park or the church playground, it seems as though 90% of the parents are on their phones most of the time. I, too, sometimes find the pull irresistible. Even when I check the time (another clock!) on the phone, I feel an urge to see if I have any email. Phones have also become more acceptable in church services. A few years ago, I noticed one or two people reading the Bible on their PDAs or smartphones, but now it seems like 1 in 6 have them. With that increased acceptance, though, I’ve noticed more and more people doing things other than reading the Bible on their phones.

Of course, people have always had ways to tune out the sermon, doodling on the prayer request card or fiddling with the empty seat in front of us, yet it seems the powerful draw that comes from the phone is something new that we’ll all have to deal with honestly. It will require discipline, accountability, and openness to gain its benefits without being pulled into its value system of always on, always engaged.

Others?

What other technologies do you see shaping and influencing you and your church’s behaviors in the coming year?

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johndyer@churchleaders.com'
John Dyer (http://j.hn/) has been a web developer for more than 10 years and now has a ridiculously long title (Executive Director of Communications and Educational Technology at Dallas Theological Seminary). He also writes about the intersection of technology, theology, and culture for http://donteatthefruit.com/ and several Christian magazines and is the author of From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology.