Paradigms

Bridging Faith and Technology: A New Era for Children’s Ministry

Bridging faith and technology …

Advances in technology make it easier to connect with people anywhere and everywhere. In Roman times, their road system, a technological feat, expanded their empire. Today, the Internet is an information superhighway enabling us to share and distribute information worldwide. With future growth and development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), connections between people will become faster and more seamless.

A new era for children’s ministry.

It’s a new era for children’s/family ministry. The progression of technology and ministry cannot be separated. Innovations and processes, including augmented reality (AR) and robotics, are necessary to accomplish ministry objectives. Like it or not, our lives are intertwined with technology and can’t be untangled. Can we predict the future consequences of using new technology? No. However, recognizing that new technology is much more powerful and consequential than old technology, we should cautiously, carefully, and critically harness it to fulfill the mandate to “make disciples of all nations” Matthew 28:19.

The progression of technology and ministry cannot be separated. Share on X

How will you expand the reach of your ministry? Do you plan to connect children and parents, wherever they are, with Jesus and His Word? Technology can help us disciple the nations in the way of truth. With prime technologies at your fingertips, how can you leverage online opportunities to reach families with the Gospel?

It’s empowering to look back and see how Christians used the invention of the printing press for widespread dissemination of the Bible. Will the church grasp the potential of AI to pioneer new ways to share God’s Word? In the Western world, most families are no longer connected to a faith community. But they are linked to the Internet. Technological improvements are a game changer for communication. Are we positioning children’s/family ministry to utilize these advantages?

Navigating the technological frontier.

The British statesman Winston Churchill notably said, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Encyclopedia Brittanica, the go-to reference book for centuries, missed the opportunity in the 1980s to harness the power of the Internet. Wikipedia saw the potential and, within a decade, became the most popular encyclopedia of all time.

How do we navigate the technological frontier? Innovation is inevitable as time progresses. As the Franciscan theologian Ilia Delio suggests, technology is part of continuous human evolution through which God is at work. It’s time to think ahead. The door is open for Christians to use AR and AI as tools to build God’s Kingdom. Do we see the potential?

The door is open for Christians to use AR and AI as tools to build God’s Kingdom. Do we see the potential? Share on X

The disruptions of technological advances can’t be ignored. Phones and computers will keep improving, processing speeds will double every eighteen months as they’ve been doing since 1965, and the ‘merging’ of man and machine is inevitable. Technological shifts are happening faster and faster. Five-year ministry strategies are obsolete. If our methodologies, curriculums and practices don’t use the latest technology to reach, rescue and root children in the way of Christ, we’ll be ignored or dismissed.

With cultural change accelerating to stay in step with technology, disregarding it is a huge mistake. So, don’t drag your feet. Enlarge your sphere of influence. Explore digital solutions. Investigate emerging tech. Develop ministry plans and procedures that integrate technology, are more flexible, and focus on shorter time frames. And as you do, don’t forget that technology should enhance human capabilities, never replace them.

The digital mandate.

We should increasingly see the commission to “make disciples of all nations” as an e-mandate. That’s not to say the in-person mandate to fulfil the Great Commission should be phased out. Far from it! But it is a recognition that we shouldn’t shy away from transmitting the Gospel message electronically with eternal aims in mind.

We should increasingly see the commission to “make disciples of all nations” as an e-mandate. Share on X

That said, Christians must never embrace technological shifts without discernment. Boundaries must be defined and employed to ensure technology’s safe, secure, and ethical use. The Gutenberg Press was used to print the Bible, which was acceptable. Printing machines are also used to publish pornography, which is unacceptable. Bridging faith and technology presents moral challenges. The net effect of technology is good or bad. Therefore, we must ensure it’s utilized for righteous, not unrighteous ends.

Please share your insights about bridging faith and technology in the comments below.

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