In Matthew 25 Christ tells the story of how a master gave his servants resources. Some used them well, while other were fearful and did nothing. His warning was that in the end the one who sits on his hands will be in trouble.
I love being part of the PCA, but when it comes to using the technological resources God has given us we are doing poorly. While there are some churches using tech well, our denomination could do a much better job of using all the resources God has given us.
It only takes looking at our denominational website to see how behind we are as a denomination. The current site came online in June of 2000!
We need to ask ourselves how can we be stewards of the technology God has made available to us? Technological stewardship doesn’t mean putting tech budgets over the needs of the peoples. It’s not about constantly buying news gadgets, and getting rid of existing system just for the sake of being new. It means using what technology is at your disposal, to better accomplish your goals.
The church has not always been so behind when it comes to leveraging technology—the apostolic church was very good at leveraging new technologies for the sake of discipleship.
While most people in the PCA would agree that God expanded his church, “in the fullness of time,” I wonder if most of them have considered the fact that the fullness of time included such advances as road systems and the invention of the codex (the predecessor to the modern book) both of which allowed for faster communication over long distances (not unlike the many internet technologies today.)
Part of the reason I am in support of the changes in the Administrative Committees funding is because certain things cannot be done from a grass roots perspective, just imagine 10 different presbyteries deciding that the denomination needed a new website and each of them registering and promoting a site as the official denominational site. (According to a grass-roots mindset this kind of self initiation is perfectly acceptable but we must admit that on some issues it can end up causing a lot of problems.) The only way out of our technological tar pit is to empower a few people to move forward. This doesn’t mean they will be with out oversight, it just means they will have the ability to get things going.
I’m not simply talking about having a website. I’m suggesting that we see technologies such as: social networks, video streaming, cell texting, email, twitter, blogs and many others as resources that God has given for the purpose of serving our King.
The PCA is a small denomination, and many churches are very far from each other, and yet I believe that God has handed us resources that allows us to overcome many of the geographic challenges that limit our connection and our development as a people with a purpose.
Here are four steps that I propose the PCA take in the near future.
1. Create a new denomination Website that would allow for presbytery clerks or all TEs to login and update information. Include on this site digitized copies of all our Assembly documents (SJC, Minutes, Overtures, etc.)
2. Ditch the old flash based registration. This is especially important when it comes to making registration easy for people with vision problems.
3. Bring back the chat rooms, and streaming video that we were used at past GAs, but use something like qik or ustream, which are a much cheaper option.
4. Learn to develop & share technology – Why must every church and every presbytery have to reinvent the wheel. Create a site online where church leaders can learn about useful technologies and even find packaged tech. (ie WordPress themes designed for churches).
Let me leave you with three questions:
What other ways can people in the PCA help each other become better stewards of technology?
Why is this such a problem for our denomination?
Is this just a PCA problem or are other churches and denominations not fully utilizing the resources we have been given?