With much consideration to the mandate Jesus Christ gave the Church, one of the most absurd thing to say is that ICT poses danger to the Church, it would be very odd to say that ICT have disadvantaged the Church. In fact, ICT is one of the major miracles we have ever experienced and no matter who have invented it; God has used them for the purpose of His kingdom.
While we can comfortably admit that some evil has been attributed or linked to the use of ICT, however evil happens everywhere, it happens in the Church gathering, it happens in our communities and the ICT world isn’t exempted from it. So, the question isn’t about ICT, it is about what we have been doing as a Church and believers. As long as humans are increasing, good or evil will be increasing and it depends on what we as believers are doing! Are we just pointing fingers at ICT as a means of spreading evil or are we determined to maximize the potentials of the ICT to spread goodness? If evil can spread through ICT, it simply means goodness can be spread through it too.
Why much evil has been recorded in the world of ICT is because lots of Christians and Church leaders didn’t welcome it at first, they either criticized or neglected it and the world took hold of it! It is just like what happened between Adam and Satan. God gave Adam authority over everything He made. By the virtue of that authority, Adam needn’t listen to Satan; he should have rebuked Satan as the one in authority but by allowing the dominance of Satan over his decisions, Adam failed and Satan took over. This is exactly the same mistake the Church seemed to make at the inception of ICT.
ICT is an acronym for information, communications technology and it is self defined. There is no extra research or logic needed for us to understand what ICT is. This means that with ICT, the Church can inform and be informed, communicate and be communicated and there are lots of tools designed to be used in communicating and informing effectively. The debate as to whether ICT is beneficial to the Church is needless; it is simply very obvious that with ICT the church is fulfilling the mandate of Christ much more effectively! Coupled with the anointing of the Holy Spirit the Church has received, the Church can hijack and take over the ICT world.
Today, we all have Bibles of diverse translations all over our book shelves and it wasn’t so during the times of our early Church fathers. In fact, in the time of the Disciples, not everyone could lay hands on the Holy Book of the Jews! When we talk about ICT, we are also talking about the technologies involved in it. ICT made it possible that the Bible could be printed and distributed all over the world! The Church cannot deny that the printing press has helped in taking the gospel of Jesus to billions of people! The printing press was invented in 1440 by German Johannes Gutenber in the Holy Roman Empire who in 1452 began a famous Bible project. The spread of printing press was also the spread of the gospel as it became even much cheaper and easier to share God’s word to the world. In fact, it was the invention of the printing press that aided reformation which seemed as the war of books. The printed bible turned every household to a training ground and the Church didn’t end at the doors of a building.
One thing the Church must understand is that we cannot affect the developed world with underdeveloped equipment. For instance, in the time of Moses, the law was written on tablet of stones and over the time, we had the law on scrolls. During the 1440s, the word of God started appearing as printed materials and these days it has become even much cheaper and easier to have almost all the translations of the Bible in one device. Electronic tablets, Smart Phones and even some touch-lite phones can be loaded with diverse translations of the Bible. To attack these inventions is as good as attacking the spread of the gospel!
ICT is always improving and unfortunately, some ignorant Christians sees these things as a threat to the Church because they see some evil things been done through ICT. Ok, let’s get it straight! The Church of Satan has printed their own so called Bible and is pushing towards distributing these things to the younger ones. However, if the Church had neglected the printing press, we won’t be surprise if the devil’s message spread faster than the gospel. The Church didn’t neglect the printing technology but today, the Church is neglecting technologies that will benefit her much more than the printing press has ever done!
The Church cannot inform when it is short of information. The use of ICT is helping lots of Churches gain more information because before you can be able to reach out more effectively, some studies concerning your target audience makes it more easier to get at them. The uses of ICT have also helped Christians reach more resources than ever. For instance, anyone anywhere can make research concerning any given subject on the internet! The internet is a breakthrough technology which the Church must not ignore because the kingdom of darkness is bent on taking over the internet and that is because they can spread much faster through the internet. Truth is, evil will always increase when Christians don’t draw more souls to God. Jesus said “make disciples of all nations!” and how can a believer or a Church fulfill this mandate when they are either limited to resources that will help them do that or they are neglecting the relevance of the ICT.
These days, people in areas without Church or countries where Christianity is prohibited can still gain access to lots of Christian resources or even watch engage in Church services without having to erect a Church or board a flight to a church building! Many people have reportedly given their hearts to Jesus after reading some Christian articles online or watching Christian teachings. With ICT, the Church is communicating much more than ever before! If there was internet in the time of Jesus, who said Jesus won’t have a website and social media profiles?
There is no disadvantage of ICT for the Church; there may be disadvantages of ICT for any other thing but not the Church! If we have ever experienced any disadvantage of ICT such as the spread of pornography, it is because the Church has refused to fill the social media with their own contents! Are there no brothels just like there are Churches? Are we to stop building houses just because some are building houses for immorality? Are there no printed pornographic contents? Are we to stop printing because some certain people are using it to spread evil? The answer is simply NO! So, we cannot say that ICT has not benefitted the Church because some evil is happening. They are happening because we are not acting!
ICT can also help in keeping information and records much more secure and efficiently. With ICT, the church can stay in touch by keeping records safer. The uses of bulk sms to communicate with members have proven effective over time. If Banks, government and cooperate companies does not joke with sending out bulk sms to their customers, this proves that it is very effective in communicating with partners and members. Church registry and data base can be much more secure using ICT. For instance, the records and reports of the Church can be typed on the Computer and saved on the cloud storage system. It makes it impossible to lose data even if the whole Church building got burnt! Like earlier noted, the Church must inform and be informed.
Radio and TV programs are all benefits of the ICT. It has been discovered that the movies and other stuffs we watch on television controls how we act in reality. Many ladies dress the way they do today because they saw the style in a movie or in pictures. Now, indecency has risen to a point that it seems impossible to be controlled and it could be attributed to what we watch on the television. However, it became that way because the Church have not tried displaying decency! The television has benefited the Church, programs and messages are played through the television and even people who don’t have access to the internet have access to the television. Even in rural areas, lots of poor people have television. The radio is also an ICT tool with which people can be communicated to. During live programs on radio, the amount of people who call in shows that lots of lives are being touched either positively or negatively. If we allow the world to use all the space, we are disappointing God.
The social networks like Facebook, Instagram and so on has become even much more instrumental to the advancement of the ministry. If companies pay people to manage their social media accounts, that shows how important the social network is. Churches that are on social media have used it to interact with people, invite people to programs and make people have a feel of what their gatherings look like. A research showed that the Social Media reaches more people than Radio. The social media can also be used to channel people to the Church’s website, library and other important places on the internet. In fact, the social network is more important than some crusade events. Some Christian leaders have more than ten million followers on the internet and that means he can reach ten million people at a go while such may not be possible with gatherings. For example, the Archbishop of Canterbury has started conducting bible studies on Facebook where millions of people participate, make contributions and even ask questions. These same millions of people can also be led astray if the Church have left all the space for enemies of Christ to dominate.
During Church services, the use of large screens to display hymns has also benefitted the Church. It helps member to flow and learn to sing those songs! While people may debate that it is discarding the use of printed hymns, it really means nothing. The use of papers has relegated the scrolls and the use of digital devices is beginning to relegate the use of papers and it even keeps the environment cleaner.
ICT have make communication very easy among Christians and Church staff. Churches that have not adopted the use of ICT do not communicate more effectively. Using the email, the Bishop can write and distribute letters to all Churches at just a click and training materials can also be distributed using emails. It makes communication easier and cheaper!
The Church has grown from fellowship of few hundreds of people to a brand! ICT has helped the Church achieve this and that is why every Church using the tools available is much more effective than churches that neglect them. ICT has made it possible for churches to have magazines, newsletters and even their own special television channels! Some companies are even learning from certain churches on how to grow a brand. However, it is unfortunate to say that our local churches are yet to key into these strategies, they rather sit back and make criticisms.
In conclusion, there are lots of benefits and we cannot exhaustively discuss it in a day. However, ICT is unarguably important and it is a miracle for the Church to change lives, reach the ends of the earth and make more impacts. Why not leverage these opportunities God has given us and make better use of the ICT? The ICT cannot go extinct, new things are being added to it every day and we can never do away with the reality that ICT has come to stay and to get people from the internet, we must be on the internet.
You cannot use ICT effectively when you have not gained mastery over it! Being a Christian doesn’t make you an authority in God’s word if you do not study it. You can invite ICT experts to your Church, conferences and leadership training grounds to train you and your team on the use of ICT and how to serve more effectively with it. If you are looking for a resource person who will deliver, there are lots of them but of course you will not regret having me speak at your training and conferences.
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