Several conversations lately have led me to consider the integration and universality of technology in a local church context. To be integrated means â€œcombining or coordinating separate elements so as to provide a harmonious, interrelated wholeâ€ or â€œorganized or structured so that constituent units function cooperatively.â€
Universal means â€œaffecting, concerning, or involving allâ€, â€œused or understood by allâ€ or â€œpresent everywhere.â€ As I continue to chew on this concept, other words that come to mind are total, comprehensive and whole.Â Â
I serve as a technology pastor at a church. For years â€œtechâ€ was considered one personâ€™s role (the techie, tech director or AV coordinator) â€“ whether volunteer, part-time or full-time. Now in most local church situations there is still the need for this AV/tech role that oversees the sound, video and lights for corporate worship services and often oversees and supports campus-wide AV needs. IT is obviously another growing area in the church world and usually requires a dedicated volunteer or paid staff member or the use of outsourced companies.
Iâ€™ll be the first to admit that those that serve in â€œtechâ€ and IT roles in a church have a unique gift mix and personality. In most situations these servants and leaders are seen more as geeks than pastors or ministers. I see my role as a pastor and shepherd, but thatâ€™s a topic for another article.
I bring the idea of universal technology up because weâ€™re seeing a shift in the way the Church looks, functions and ministers to the world. The reality that we are missionaries in a digital age is becoming increasingly more apparent and hard to ignore. This brings the whole concept of â€œtechnologyâ€ to the forefront for regular pastors and church staff members â€“ including the non-techie.
The conversations that I have regularly with pastors are about their desire to learn, understand, apply and fully utilize technology for ministry. The shift is bringing about what I call â€œuniversal technologyâ€ â€“ meaning every Church leader is engaged in, using and communicating through technology â€“ not just the tech pastor.
Events, gatherings and conferences that Iâ€™m regularly apart of look a lot different. TheÂ Church 2.0 Local ForumsÂ that I host around the country or theÂ churchtechcamp, happening today in Dallas for example, 3 years ago would have been a room full of â€œgeeksâ€ (not my word, I got that from Mark Batterson) and â€œtechiesâ€ (that is my word). Now, one walks into a â€œchurchtechcampâ€ and itâ€™s full of church planters, senior pastors, bloggers and lay leaders/volunteers that are involved in community/small groups and discipleship.
Iâ€™m fascinated by it and am enjoying just sitting back and watching this shift. Of course there are still giant conferences like NAB and InfoComm where us techies get together and talk about all things tech-related and the make up of attendees and speakers looks a lot different, but overall I see a change in the use of the word â€œtechâ€ and the concept and adoption of â€œtechnologyâ€.
This new reality that Iâ€™m referring to as universal technology is a good thing and a long-awaited one by me, personally. Iâ€™ve always viewed technology as a tool and not a toy, so the thought of senior pastors, worship pastors, youth pastors, communication directors, small group leaders, missions and outreach leaders, etc. getting interested, involved with and captivated by technology is a beautiful sight to me.
What about you and your situation? Are you seeing volunteers and staff members that donâ€™t have â€œtechâ€ in their title or job description talk about technology, Facebook, Twitter, blogging and online ministry?