Since the coronavirus forced worship services to move online, nearly a third of church-goers have stopped attending church, according to new Barna research. Among millennials, it’s even higher: Half of those who used to go to church have stopped since the pandemic started. It is not clear why. But when attendance plummets, we need to stop, reflect, and answer that question.
The church needs to be thinking outside the sanctuary, not only in the near term during COVID, but long after. Many church leaders are more than ready to welcome people back into sanctuaries, to see faces, shake hands, offer hugs. But that focus may risk distracting some leaders from considering what their hybrid churches will need over the coming year. So what should we spend our time doing?
Church went online in unprecedented numbers in the past few weeks, as thousands of priests, ministers, reverends, and preachers across the United States sought to carry on their Sunday services in some form. So what will happen as the state-imposed sheltering in place loosens and churches begin to reopen their doors? We can find clues by looking back to 2007—the year Amazon introduced the Kindle ebook reader. Many commentators wondered whether print books would survive.
Does it make sense to give up devices and social media like this? C.S. Lewis actually had something to say about this. Lewis, of course, never dreamed of anything like Facebook or even the internet. But we aren’t the first generation to notice technology changing our habits and lifestyles. Lewis once received a letter from a gentleman asking his advice about “motoring.” Here’s what Lewis had to say in a letter from 1956…
Of the 150 or so acres making up Willow Creek Community Church’s main campus, a full 8 acres are devoted to buildings. Parking lots cover more than 28. That ratio demonstrates just how important cars are to most churches today.
The recently released LivesOn is a new app that takes digital memorials in a new direction: LivesOn will continue tweeting in your stead after you die. And not just in your stead, but also in your style and tone with content you’d probably have tweeted about. It will be as if you had never died.
Are computers simply higher life forms? Are we all headed that way? Is it program or perish? Some people today truly think so. They see downloading the mind into a computer as humanity’s hope for immortality.
Every technological innovation has benefits and consequences. The benefits convince us to adopt it. But the consequences often come to light only later. For technologists, Deuteronomy 22:8 commends itself. It offers a principle that can guide ethical innovation.
While the Crusaders once wielded swords, Christians today wield credit cards. And although the currency is no longer life and death, both scenarios embody power in a common currency of the day—the mighty sword then, and the almighty dollar now.
Amazon PrimeAir showed us that drones can carry “death from above” or, as one writer put it, “showers of blessings.” Now that Bezos has turned drones on their head, we have a chance to ask “Is technology really neutral?”