Tech Faces allowed in Worship

tech-faceWe often discuss how churches make it harder (not easier) to use technology in a worship service. So it is refreshing to be able to point to a church that is doing it right.

First UMC of Baton Rouge is launching a worship service on August 18th and one of the social-media-savvy promos features fellow young clergy Rev. Katie McKay Simpson. She needs only one minute to be relevant to people’s experience (talk about the “tech face” that people get when they are stealthily checking their phones) and to assure tech-savvy folks that they won’t have to check their iPhones at the door.

Here’s the video (video link), check it out:

Sorry to Rev. Katie for using such a funny facial expression of hers, but that IS what social media is for: sending out obnoxious photos. Best of wishes to her and the America Street service (PDF article here). Check it out if you are in the Baton Rouge area on August 18th or thereafter.

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  1. says

    Too great. I know I’m guilty of that, even as a pastor if I’m in a service I’m not leading. Our senior pastor has many a tweetable quote. He doesn’t even realize it.

    I’m wondering … What if we stopped putting the scripture on the screen? I’ve actually wondered this a lot. Encourage people to pull the phone out, or the seldom used pew Bible. Katie, a friend of mine from BR, might be on to something.

    • Tom Lee says

      I’m not a luddite (witness–reading and commenting on a blog) and I’m guilty as charged of techface (great impersonation!), but I’ve gone back to leaving the phone in the car and carrying my Bible into church, with a pencil, and I love it.

      I love the ability to place a passage in context of whole paragraphs (wait, the Lord’s prayer follows Mary & Martha?), noting spiritual movements from previous encounters with the same Word, even the tactile experience of the page and graphite, which engages another sense beyond the visual and auditory.

      That said, I’m cool with using the iPhone for scripture. Maybe the permission to take out the iPhone and use it once would meet people’s needs to connect with the virtual world for a moment. And maybe that would lead to a powerful word of its own.

  2. Gary Bebop says

    Phones in worship…like hand-held fans fifty years ago…may have some application that could enhance worship experience. Maybe. But phones in worship…like phones on packed trains or movie houses, or at fine dining and spa retreats…also contribute annoyance and anomie.

  3. Bridgette Young Ross says

    My husband and I are definitely encouraging more of our congregation to be open to using technology during worship. He will often encourage people to tweet of post something on Facebook as he’s preaching. Of course, our young adults were already doing it without “permission.” I openly use my iPad to read scripture and take notes. One of our older members looked over my shoulder as I toggled from one translation to another to pick up differences in the text. She loved it!

  4. says

    I routinely bring a device on which I read the Scripture verse for the week (and usually some additional passages). I attend Central UMC in Asheville, NC.

    If the preacher mentions a subject of interest, I will occasionally serach it on Google and email myself a reminder, and if there was a way to easily interact that would not take me out of the experience of corporate worship, I would. (I had not thought about setting up an account with which I TWEET meaningful parts of a sermon.)

    My brother-in-law maintains a role for his charismatic, non-denominational church wherein I receive Facebook & Twitter feeds on Sunday in advance of Church and during the service. Thank you for this blog that inspired some ideas.

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