Advantage of Technology
With this issue of Watchman Magazine, we begin a new feature intended to help Christians (especially preachers) to both utilize the tremendous opportunities that technology supplies in preaching the gospel of Christ, and avoid the pitfalls that are associated with the same.
Consider the following positive aspects of Technology:
computer can be used to assist in sermon preparation and the printing of bulletins and class material.
The computer can be used to assist in Bible study.
The computer can be used to assist in sermon presentation (Transparencies, data projectors, etc.)
Internet Web sites, containing audio, video, charts, and text can be established and maintained by churches for a very reasonable cost, and can be used in the proclamation of the gospel.
Email allows for instant communication, long distance Bible study, and sharing of computer files.
Discussion lists allow for group study, and the sharing of sermon outlines and class material.
Organizational software and PDA's (Personal Digital Assistants) make it easier for a preacher to be organized and efficient.
Databases allow for the categorization of periodicals and books for instant recall of topics, authors, and scriptures for sermon preparation and study.
Because of technology, the preacher of righteousness has, in theory at least, a world-wide opportunity to disseminate truth.
Consider the following negative aspects of Technology:
presentation of the message can become more important than the message itself.
The sin of gossip can be easily committed, and its devastating effects can be enhanced.
Some Christians can be overtaken by the immorality present on the Internet. Things such as pornography, gambling, materialism, and false teaching are common on there.
Preachers can become wed (or welded) to the computer, and not be about the Father's business of proclaiming the gospel.
Technology can become an opiate. The desire to have the "latest" and "greatest" computer or gadget can cause otherwise faithful Christians to become envious, covetous, or unrighteousness stewards of God's bounty.
Because of technology the false teacher has, in theory at least, a world-wide opportunity to disseminate error.
I do not claim to be an expert on all things electronic. I do utilize the computer extensively in my work, utilize a data projector in my preaching, publish web sites, publish bulletins, and am familiar with many of the current tools that Christians can use to further the Lord's work. In months to come, either I or others who are similarly qualified will present lessons explaining those tools, as well as the common ethical and moral dilemmas that present day technology supplies.
Some General Suggestions
we will talk in more specific terms in succeeding months, here are a few general and assorted suggestions to consider when examining the place that technology has in our lives and in our preaching. These are given in no particular order of significance.
- Too many preachers buy a powerful computer when they only want a glorified typewriter. If all you are interested in is preparing outlines, publishing a bulletin, and maybe checking email, then just about any computer that still runs will do. There is no need to spend $1,500 to $2,000. In fact, for the above, an old 486/66 would work just fine. And you may be able to find someone who would give you one of those!
- Don't be intimidated by the technology. Too many preachers complain that they can't figure out the software, when they really have made very little effort to learn how to use a program. Most programs (Windows and Macintosh) these days are very intuitive and easy to use. The key is setting aside some time to become proficient. The time you put in to learn the program will pay off ten-fold in productivity. (You have little patience for the individual who says he can't understand the Bible when he has not even tried to study it... Don't be guilty of the same with regard to this). It is not outside of your ability to become proficient in Word Processing and the utilization of the internet.
- Don't become obsessed with the internet. The internet has a wealth of knowledge. And, with the quickly growing presence of brethren on the Web, there are literally thousands of sermons, articles and class outlines which can be used in personal study. But, it is easy to waste time on the internet. All who have "surfed" have at one time or another been guilty of wasting a few hours. Some get completely hooked, and the computer takes over their existence. Some preachers spend so much time haggling with other preachers on line that they do not prepare for their sermons, or teach the lost.
- Don't be a "Luddite." (Webster's defines a "Luddite" as - 'one of a group of early 19th century English workmen destroying labor saving machinery as a protest.') The term has come to refer to those who are against technology "on principle." Technology, used correctly, can be a wonderful tool. It is not intrinsically evil. I have recently heard people speak derisively about email, for example. It seems that in the minds of some, those who communicate via email are immediately under suspicion as being less than Christian. In reality, email is no more prone to "gossip" than regular mail, nor more "immediate" than the telephone. It can be abused, and its abuse should be condemned. But, the "good old days" of bedsheets for charts and the five cent stamp were not intrinsically more virtuous than today.
We could go on and on with these suggestions and observations, but perhaps these will suffice to supply incentive to return monthly to this column. Remember, the technology that exists today is neither intrinsically good, nor bad. It is what we make of it. With careful consideration, and application of scriptural principles, it can assist us in doing the Lord's work in such a way as to be pleasing to Him.
e-mail this author at email@example.com
Return to Watchman Front Page