technology at churches

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The Barna Group recently released a new study about the use of technology in Protestant churches nationwide.
N
ew Research Describes Use of Technology in Churches
In general, in the past two years adoption of technology into churches has been a little slow.

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Those tools included in the study were large screens used for showing video imagery; showing movie clips and other video segments during church events; sending email blasts to all or portions of the congregation; operating a church website; offering a blog site or pages for interaction with church leaders; maintaining a page on behalf of the church on one or more social networking sites; providing podcasts for people to listen to; and receiving programming and training via a satellite dish.

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In the past few years at my church, we have started our own church website. We have a large television but not a large screen. In the youth ministry we show clips from movies, and we send out youth group email blasts. The website has sermons that are also edited for podcasting but we do not put on a specific podcast. As a whole, our church is not involved in social network, but the youth ministry uses existing social networks to connect with students. We are not large enough to do satellite training, but our members do go to larger churches occasionally to get such training.
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There is a lot of intersting research from the Barna group, I encourage you to check it out and see the reasons why some churches are embracing and why some churches are holding back.

Church Media nd Messages

A medium (like Media) affects the message. This is pretty well research theory. If it is true, how will the Christian message be affected by new media?

As communication theorist Marshall McLuhan argued, the tools we use to communicate a message can shape that message in ways we may or may not intend. If this is true then Christians have a duty to critically evaluate the effect of our media choices on our message. Do our choices of media forms allow the message to remain Christian? Or are the tools with which we communicate at odds with the message of the Gospel?

This blurb, I got from somewhere (cannot remember where) brings up some great points and questions. It is great that someone is taking a look at this and studying it. It will be useful to learn from this type of research. But as I ran through my mind, I could not think of an occasion where the tools that (I and my church anyways) we have used have shaped the message in odd or negative ways. Maybe I am too close to see it if it is happening, or I am missing the point? Maybe I am not evaluating it correctly…I don’t know.

I do appreciate the research he is doing. And will keep my eyes open. One big problem that people might run into is over emphasis on the Media and ‘worshiping’ the Media. This would be sinful. Another problem might be the overemphasis or dependence on the Media. If the message cannot go on due to technology, then that also would be an issue you might need to bring up!
But overall, I think Media can be a good thing. A. TO keep up and engage culture. b. Convenience- it helps keep organized and prep work faster

Technology and teenagers (part 2)

Gen Y and younger have live in an advanced society, too advanced – in technology and in lifestyle. Understanding the teenagers use of technology requires us to take a look at the world view of today’s teen, because if we take a snapshot of how today’s teenagers see society, we can better understand why and how they use technology.
With that said, the Technology and Teenager series will be an ongoing series. Today is just an introduction and brief synopsis. I will continue to refer back to this and feature more material that builds on today’s post in the future:
The World view
I would be fooling, only myself, if I thought I could write a quick paragraph or two to briefly cover everything throughly I wanted to here about Generation Y world view. I encourage you to do some more research after you read my blurb here, check out future resources I will provide as well as others to get a more complete picture. And read books like Youth Culture 101, Engaging The Soul of of Youth Culture (both by Walt Muller) and check out his Youth Culture website.
For the youth of Gen Y, technology of the internet and personal computer advanced right to them. Adults older do not understand how all of the technology works, have not experienced them as much and to the same effect as the youth of today, and are not required to be apart of the technological pop culture as Gen Y is all allowed and welcomed to.
For Gen Y, technology is almost like a second life or second personality, not only do most students have profiles on social networks, personal pages, blogs, and or other community with other Gen Ys (or anyone), but Gen Y is collaborating and connecting more online than any other generation has ever tried or had opportunity to.
Gen Y teenagers might share/cry out their deepest hurts and pains on IM, on blog, on an online journal, or in a social network. They do not feel like they can share these ideas with older adults/parents in real life. This is their safe haven, or so they think.
The youth culture of today does not feel like they can connect with their parents and talk to them as they really can/should and parents want them to (but they do not). Parents are struggling today to keep up with and connect to their children. It is an awkward state.
Teenagers are getting all of these messages from so many people. They can relate to their friends online (other Gen Ys) who also are not connecting with their parents. In some ways,they are the blind leading the blind.

Technology Usage
Technology gives them the freedom to connect with some one. They can share their problems to one another, IM each other, complain about each of their own respective parents, they are learning this technology together. They are being marketed to. They make plans online. They have access to the world in seconds, it is a whole ‘nother world out here online.
But like I said this is a very brief introduction. I have a lot of ways I want to run with this. But this is the beginning of more (hopefully) meaningful, meaty posts where my heart, ministry, and prayers are often.

Here is the first resources I want to provide, It is a teaching series called THE BLUR I used it to teach my teens about themselves- it is great for yourself or a big group:
My Generation One
My Generation Two
Postmodern Blur
The Blur

(If links do not work go to this site.)

P.S. – vacation in FL is awesome. I was at SeaWorld yesterday! 🙂

Technology and teenagers (part 1)

Many teens spend 30 hours a week on ‘screen time’ during high school
Generation Y and younger, are around media and screens (TV, computer, phones, etc) much more than any other generation.
There are a lot of reasons for this
and there is a lot to say about this. Today I am not going to mention a lot of commentary, because I am on my way to FL for vacation, but I want to post and supply you with articles and resources relating to this. I will post more information about this later.

For parents – guide to help parents understand internet

Recommended reading – Youth Culture 101, Walt Mueller

A lot of research related to the Internet and Youth.

Have a great day,
Alex