Technology is now widely used to facilitate Church services and programs all over the world. This trend started in the 15th century with the advent of the printing press that was used to produce the scriptures and other materials used for evangelism. Technology has evolved and Its use within the Church has seen steady growth ever since.
The last six months, however, have brought about a significant surge in the use of Information Communications Technology (ICT) as a result of the pandemic. Early this year, no one thought that COVID-19 would lead to a shutdown, such that in-person services will not hold for a few months.
What was once a backup tool is now at the front and center of ministry work. As a result, a high number of Churches that had no online presence and even those with a skeletal online presence have had to put in place or expand their technology tools to accommodate live streaming, online giving, musical outreach, all-in-one platforms and several other Church administration tools in order to stay ahead of the disruption.
Needless to say, technology makes it convenient and cheaper, in the long run, to manage several tasks under one platform. Beyond this, technology has made engagement with followers a daily occurrence and no longer limited to Sundays or once during the week. Its utility is hugely popular across all demographic groupings. The fact that Pope Francis has 18.7m followers on Twitter also tells us that its use is not limited to new generation Churches and millennials but is now popular with the traditional Churches too. There is, therefore, no doubt that the benefits are innumerable.
As useful and convenient as these online tools are, there’s the need to pause and ask if indeed, these solutions and applications are under the complete control of the Church or run by knowledgeable Christians. And if not, do the hosting companies or platforms through which Church online tools operate share the same values and principles as enshrined in Christian beliefs? These questions are asked because we live in perilous times and the Church needs to be cautious with who or what it partners with in the propagation of the good news.
When Jesus called up the disciples to carry on with the work of the gospel, He empowered them and directed them to go gather the lost sheep (win souls), carry out exploits, including casting out unclean spirits and healing the sick. Although He had given them extraordinary powers, He also warned them, saying, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Mathew 10:16.
Furthermore, Apostle Paul knew that the task of winning souls would be difficult and admonished us to be mindful of who we do business or associate with on this assignment.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
2 Corinthians 6:14.
A lot of the online platforms which Churches utilize for their broadcasts are secular and for the most part, do not share the principles or beliefs of Christianity. This situation leaves Churches vulnerable and subject to the dictates of these entities. For example, certain online platforms will allow Churches to stream their programs. Still, those platforms are at liberty to advertise what may be inappropriate before, during, or immediately after programs. It is also not inconceivable that agreements can be terminated or programs censored for reasons that are at variance with those of the hosting companies.
In these days of artificial intelligence, individuals responsible for coding and programming now develop algorithms that are more advanced, invasive and capable of altering what is viewed and heard on social media and the internet in general. This scenario can be somewhat disconcerting.
The good news, however, is that there are now online options like ChurchPad, founded on the principles of sound Biblical leanings and teachings that give the assurance that Churches can be in charge of how they manage their affairs and by extension the content they produce. Such a complete church management software provides the Church powerful responsive tools to help them grow and see to their members’ needs.
For instance, Churches can plug into a unified communications system for all aspects of broadcasting and information dissemination. They can manage several departments like the children’s Church and evangelism. They also offer a secure and convenient means of giving along with other products that make Church administration seamless.
As robust as this offering is, it is inexpensive and operates from one dashboard. At a time when Churches are struggling and grappling with a new normal, this kind of technology that makes ministry work easier is seen as a welcome development.