Driving the luddites out of the temple

To say that the congregation with which I worship is late to the technological revolution is an understatement. We’ve been one projector short for weeks and no one seems to notice the blank screen on the left. The church’s website is difficult to navigate. Our Facebook page has racked up a grand total of 15 friends. And our idea of social media is a prayer chain.

In other words, ours is pretty much like every other small to mid-size church in the U.S. and Canada.

Aside from the staffed-up mega-churches, few congregations are maximizing the ministry potential of new technologies and social media. And that, says religion prof Adam Copeland, helps explain (but not completely) the dearth of Millennials under our steeples.


In a shout out to luddites among the faithful, Copeland warns via an article on the Luther Seminary website that “mobile technologies and the social media abilities they allow are not going away” and then challenges churches to the following actions:

First, people of faith must ask the question: “How is God calling us to be stewards of social media?” When we bring prayerful attention to tweets and clicks, we can join the Spirit’s movement, even in the mysterious ways of the Internet. Rather than run from technology, I believe God calls us to use it – and particularly social media – to serve one another in love.

The church must also help us all ask wise questions like: “What is Sabbath in an iPhone world?” “How do I steward my Facebook feed?” “For what shall I pray on Twitter?” Church and society will both thrive when Christians approach social media through a lens of stewardship.

Second, since new media technologies are so popular—Facebook has over one billion users and is the second most popular site on the Internet; YouTube isn’t far behind – fruitful stewardship campaigns should employ the best of new media technologies.

At its heart, most social media is about, well, being social. Or, to put it another way, Facebook and other new media enables us to be in relationship with one another. And what is stewardship but seeking to be in right relationship with God and one another?

From blog updates about the latest youth mission trip to Facebook photo albums of the spread at the Sunday potluck, new media can help congregation members connect to one another.

Today there are more ways than ever to communicate both the Good News and the everyday news of our lives together in communities of faith. Luddites take heed. For the sake of the Gospel and for their own long-term ministry effectiveness, congregations (including my own) must try harder to maximize technology and social media.

Other articles of interest:

Reaching Millennials through stewardship evangelism

A snapshot from the frontlines of the social media revolution

Doing good without us



  1. I’ll just say: amen.

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