Hello world is the phrase commonly used for beginnings in the tech world. Of course anyone who has ever created a blog finds this as their first blog post. If you write a program, one of the first objectives is to have the screen show the phrase, “Hello World!” As I begin this journey as a Ministry Technology Advocate, this seemed cliche’, but appropriate for my first post.
If you’ve read this far, it may be because you are wondering what a Ministry Technology Advocate is. In short, it is a passion that I have to empower better, more efficient ministry by using technology as a tool. Without going on a rant, I do think that it is important to point out that technology is not the end, but only a means. Technology cannot DO ministry, it can only help empower ministry. Just as a wise pastor recognizes that they are not capable of “saving” anyone, rather they are best used as a conduit to God’s saving grace.
To better understand the role of technology in ministry, let me offer a few examples and then bring this post to a close so that we can begin a journey together of exploring different ministry technologies.
Technology empowers ministry by . . .
. . . helping visitors to focus more on a worship experience than finding a hymn or liturgy through the use of projecting instructions and lyrics on a screen.
. . . using social media to meet people where they are.
. . . targeting emails to keep members informed of service opportunities.
These make good sense, but how about technology empowering ministry by . . .
. . . using mobile devices to record attendance so that volunteers spend less time on administration and more time on teaching.
. . . setting up software driven workflows to automatically publish podcasts so that even those without an IT staff can get their message beyond the church walls.
. . . tracking important details in members lives so that people don’t fall through the cracks.
In my newest position our senior pastor remarked that the single greatest contribution I have made so far was to install the printer driver for our powerful office copier so that she could print directly to it. While it almost seems insulting because of all of my other efforts, it serves as a great illustration of my first almost-rant, it’s really about empowering ministry.
One final thought about this blog, I hope that anyone that would choose to read this would not necessarily agree with all that I have to say. We all grow more when we challenge conventional thought and continue to search for better solutions.
So, now I say with great joy, “Hello world!”