The first thing that caught my eye as I started to read Jeffrey Bricker’s article on technology and worship was his opening line: “It’s a tough time to be in the church business.”
I’m not sure I agree that the church is a business, but let’s stick with that for a moment. I was taught the purpose of a business is to maximize the wealth of its shareholders. A church’s shareholders are presumably its members, and to maximize their wealth could be thought of as maximizing their connection to God, I suppose. Are these modern church leaders using technology to maximize their members’ connection to God?
Most of these “modern churches” are typically known for their concert-like worship experiences; large-screen visuals; espresso bars; worship bands full of young, cool people; and a pastor in jeans and a T-shirt preaching on short passages of Scripture in a way that is positive, uplifting and immediately relevant to everyday life.
I’ve attended many of these services. I come in, am greeted by a lot of friendly people, get my coffee, take it into the auditorium where I listen to some pretty awesome music, and hear a message that is well delivered and on point. I come away feeling great. Do I feel that I have maximized my connection to God? Not so much.
People can be entertained on their devices 24/7 these days. They don’t need a church for that. They need a church for silence, reverence, community, ancient wisdom, sacramental worship and the real presence of God. Traditional elements of liturgical worship such as confession, the Lord’s Prayer, and most importantly, the Holy Eucharist have fulfilled these needs for thousands of years. It just doesn’t seem right to downgrade them in order to achieve a stronger feel good experience, unless the goal is simply to increase membership.
Technology is a powerful tool, and I only hope, and pray, that our modern church leaders can take it to the next level where they incorporate more of the vitally important substance of Christian traditions that have been around since the beginning of time. If they can do that, I think they will not only attract new members, but also maximize their connection to God.
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It is a tough time to go to church. If you grew up in the church singing meaningful hymns in a serene, worshipful atmosphere today’s setting is painful. To anticipate loud, repetitious noise deters one from attending.
People who have been members of a church for some time are compelled to seek out a more traditional church. They are becoming difficult to find.
Churches may grow in numbers with this pandering to the present scene but dollars may diminish. The older members gave sacrificially and the younger generation has not bought into this.
Churches, don’t neglect to consider your older, faithful members who have been supporting you for years.
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Jeffrey Bricker’s cover story, “Finding Faith for the Future: how technology is transforming worship,” in the May 22 edition of West Newsmagazine should have either mentioned how some non-Christian places of worship in the west St. Louis area are using [or not using] technology to transform worship, or it should have more appropriately titled the piece as an examination of only Christian places of worship.
Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe every quote was from a Christian. I didn’t see a single mention of a non-Christian religion or non-Christian place of worship.
I believe a journalist has a responsibility to consider the makeup of his audience. West Newsmagazine is directly mailed to many non-Christians, so I think Mr. Bricker should have considered representing that population [smaller though it may be]. It may be that Mr. Bricker did, in fact, interview non-Christians and found no examples of technological changes in worship practices. If he really did earnestly make that effort and reach that conclusion then I think it should have been mentioned. The story then could have been more accurately titled “How technology is transforming Christian worship.” Or perhaps the story would have become an examination of why technological changes are present in Christian worship but not other forms of worship.
I don’t mean to be negative and I certainly don’t intend for any of my own personal opinions about religion to be a factor here. The purpose of this note was only to share my opinion about journalism and the representation of the readership.