I’ve been a “techy” for as long as I can remember, always falling in love the latest gadgets. I realize that some of us are more apt to accept new technologies than other people, and in most church environments, incorporating newer things always seem to be a slower process. Many people are resistant to change as part of their personality. Even if a new “something” is of great value to the ministry, there can be a lot of reluctance surrounding it. This phenomenon is not limited to traditional church people. I’ve heard the stories of pastors called onto the carpet by church boards for replacing an acoustic drum kit with electronic kit.
Unfortunately, those of us involved in small church technology must minister in this environment, but because the relationships are in a smaller group, negative reactions can have a big impact. Because of that you have to be intentional and careful. But is “intentional” and “careful” bad things? No, in fact, they probably help us be better stewards of our ministry responsibilities and the connected relationships. We can’t afford to sacrifice relationships because we want to do something new, but we can’t stand still either. This tension is where we’re called to work.
To mitigate the potential damage our tech choices can make, we really have to be sure that we need to make a change. We also need a healthy understanding of the role of technology in our ministry. For small church technology, in addition to the relational consequences, there are other unique challenges to consider such as what implementing a technology will cost over time, and the effect a smaller budget has on the timetable for implementation. For instance, at my church, we are currently investing in a certain technology for our live services, but we’ve been trying to work through the equipment vendor to replace a faulty item because we can’t afford to just go get a new one and deal with the exchange later. So, implementation of this tech is at a stand still until that is resolved. That is a common scenario with small church technology.
With all that said, even with the challenges, the effort is worth it if technology progression makes sense for your ministry’s context and calling (1 Cor. 9:19-23). If a single person changes their mind about Jesus’ church being antiquated and therefore her message irrelevant, and that person comes to recognize Jesus as Savior and Lord, then all the frustrated hours turn into pure joy. But, we can never forget that not only are we called to show others the light, we are also called to sharpen one another. Let’s remember both “targets” as we push onward.