Tyndale College and Seminary conducted a survey of 386 churches in the Ontario, Canada area to find out how congregants viewed the role of technology in the churches. Below is the infographic from the article entitled, Church and Technology.
There are some a few interesting tidbits in the data:
- On the one hand 35% believe church is “becoming too much about technology” and 11.5% say technology distracts from worship, but only 1.4% see theological problems with technology usage. To me, it’s interesting that there is little correlation or connection between theology (what we believe about God) and what we think about worship.
- A whopping 84% of church members read the Bible electronically. I really would have expected the number to be lower in church, but I’m guessing this refers to “Sometime in the week”
- Sound equipment is ubiquitous (99% use it). That means it’s not “technology” anymore to 99% of churches.
- One pastor say that technology has “No trade-offs, only benefits.” Seriously? but other pastors acknowledge that technology is not just about right or wrong, it’s about “change” and that’s hard sometimes: “Introducing technology is a change. Change can be difficult. Our services are traditional in character, and there is no great desire to change that basic character.”
Tyndale should be applauded for pushing the conversation on technology, but I really would have liked to see the real data. It’s hard to interpret the numbers without knowing what the exact questions were, how many people answered the questions, when stats are related to pastors vs. congregants (the infographic shows 35% and 19.2% for “too much about technology” – which is which?).
Still, the survey approach shows how varied the responses and outcomes to technology can be. Pastors lament that, “clergy and others to spend more time at their desks and less time pounding the pavement of the community,” and yet we can’t help but feeling like it’s good thing when, “A member/leader in our church was serving in Afghanistan and we were able to include him in some of our services via Skype to encourage him and the church family.”
I think this kind of back and forth is helpful in seeing the pros and cons, good and bad, positive and negative that comes with technology. It helps us avoid blindly criticizing it or blindly diving in, both of which are unhelpful extremes.
Did anything stick out to you in the data?