For far too long it has felt like the words spirituality and technology contradict one another.
I can only speak from my experience, but within the Christian worldview it feels like a tension exists. More so on an individual basis than in our corporate worship experience at church. We use technology in corporate worship because it allows for a better overall experience, which is what we want. However, the individual is often confronted by spiritual leaders to engage less technology. The main argument: technology is an obstacle in your relationships with one another and certainly with God.
But I'm going to argue that the latter is just not true. Serving in the ministry of Young Life has taught me that we don't look at a cultural change and dismiss it, instead we see a cultural change and we leverage it. I'm not trying to puff up Young Life but God does the same thing, he leverages culture. God is so far ahead of the curve, he's ahead of the cultural movement and I can promise you he's going to use it to bring glory to himself.
For example: Did God use Pharaoh to display his glory? Romans 9:17 says, "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." We need the reminder that this is what God does! This is His business, taking the things that makes us slaves and using them to demonstrate that He is God. So can God take the largest distributer of porn and use it to free people...well of course! We want to act as if God didn't see the internet coming or as if He didn't knit Mark Zuckerberg together in his mother's womb. Come on now people! As The Church we need stop acting like humans fearing everything and start reflecting God and look around at what we can leverage. In other words, we can leverage technology as individuals to grow spiritually and to lead people towards Jesus.
Here are some ways we can do this:
1. BibleGateway.com - I probably use BibleGateway.com more than any other resource mentioned here. The website allows you to search scripture and easily change between different translations for studying. It also has great links to commentaries, devotionals, and reading plans! That's stellar!
2. Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling" App - Oswald Chambers would have wet his pants over this one! Sarah Young has written a fantastic daily devotional as if Jesus is speaking to you on a daily basis. You can purchase the app for $9 for the iPad or iPhone! I paid $15 for the bound copy!
3. Google Voice - Buckle up all of you people who are doing ministry with high school people (can't bring my self to say the word "youth". I feel like it classifies them as something different. I know, it's stupid but I can't let it go right now). Have you noticed how many kids are now texting during your bible study? Let's leverage that!!! Set up Gmail account for your ministry, something like "firstname.lastname@example.org". Then set up a Google Voice account. You will receive a Google Voice phone number, take that and print it on a ton of business cards. Then, give it to kids and tell them to text God. This is the new written devotional. They don't have to put their name on it if they don't want to but have them text their thoughts, prayer requests, worries, etc...as if they are texting God. Tell them you will be praying for them and never sharing any of these things. Tell them that you will allow them to remain confidential if they don't have a name on the prayer request. Shoot, you don't even have to go and look at them, God will see them. But let's stop blaming kids for texting and start leveraging it. Last week instead of doing an "alter call" or asking kids to "look up" or "raise their hand," I asked them to immediately post on Twitter or Facebook #reallife (real life) and #ImIn (I'm in) if they prayed to start a relationship with Jesus. Check out the response on Twitter.
4. Twitter and Facebook - This is the place that people share their lives. Leaders can not afford to dismiss these places anymore. Plus, this is the new place for spiritual leaders to share things they have found that can help people grow.
5. YouVersion Bible App - Hands down (if your a Christian I guess I should say, "Hands Up". Get your praise on.) the best Bible app out there. YouVersion does practically every good thing I mentioned above about BibleGateway.
6. Logos Bible Software - I tell you what, if you want your mind blown and can afford it Logos Bible Software will dominate you. I can't even begin to tell you everything that Logos can do or the resources it provides so I am just going to leave it up to the link.
As you can see God is using "That there internets" to continue to demonstrate his power in our lives. Why wouldn't he? If you know your Old Testament you know that God placed his people geographically as the bridge connecting super power nations. God was the first one to make "The world flat" or you could say he made it more connected. It's time for the argument between spirituality and technology to come to an end. Neither spirituality or the internet are going anywhere, one will certainly not defeat the other.
How have you been using technology to spiritually grow or using it to help others grow spiritually?