Church and Technology

Church and Technology

A Survey of Ontario Churches

Tyndale University College & Seminary conducted a survey in the summer of 2011 to see how Ontario churches are interacting with technology, and how they see it changing the church. Three hundred and sixty-eight churches replied to the survey ranging from rural to urban, from 20 member congregations to 5,000+, and from multiple denominations and ethnicities. Some of the information is collected in the info-graphic that follows. Below are some quotes from pastors expressing their thoughts on the benefits, trade-offs, effects on core values, and innovative ways they use technology.

Benefits of technology

“The elderly enjoy the large print on-screen for singing, graphics enhance the worship experience, and videos help as sermon illustrations.”

“With many people not having English as their first language, DVDs and PowerPoint have been very helpful to them. DVDs have allowed us to reach out to people who cannot attend for physical reasons, etc. Our television ministry has allowed us to be helpful to smaller congregations that do not have a regular preacher.”

Trade-offs of technology

“No trade-offs, only benefits.”
“You must be purposeful about how you use it and know the 'why'.... You also have to take the time to educate people on the wise use of technology as it can be a trap to many people personally...”
“There can be a perception that worship is a ‘show’ rather than participatory. There is also the danger of ‘false intimacy’ generated by the immediacy of social networking.”
“Introducing technology is a change. Change can be difficult. Our services are traditional in character, and there is no great desire to change that basic character.”

How has it changed core values?

“It has not affected the core values of our church.”
“It has enhanced them.”
“If used well, it’s not about core values. Face-to-face relationships are getting more difficult in society in general. Does technology contribute to this? Or help fill the void?”
“It has changed the face of ministry, causing clergy and others to spend more time at their desks and less time pounding the pavement of the community.”

6 Innovative ways churches are using technology

  1. View info graphic

    Interactive sermons: Congregations are encouraged to respond in "real-time" to what was being said in the sermon through Twitter responses or by texting questions to the pastor.

  2. “Having the congregation connect to the sermon live via smart phones.”
  3. “A member/leader in our church was serving in Afghanistan and we were able to include him in some of our services via Skype to encourage him and the church family.”
  4. “I have heard some churches did a successful online evangelistic meeting.”
  5. “Facebook has been very effective for developing prayer ministry, and Skype as well for prayer and face-to-face counselling and mentoring.”
  6. “We are currently working on an idea that will allow our youth to mentor our seniors on Facebook, Twitter, texting, and in how to use cellphones.” >