Apps & Amens: Should Using Your Phone In Church Still Be Considered Taboo?

July 16, 2014  |  

There once was a time when you wouldn’t dare whip out your cell phone in church — unless you wanted to be on the receiving end of evil glares in the house of the Lord. But gone are the days of scrolls, dusty books, and pamphlets. It’s all about e-readers, smartphones and tablets. So shouldn’t the way we worship evolve, too?

Ninety percent of churchgoers, according to a survey conducted by AT&T and Ebony Magazine, say that mobile technology has a place in church. The survey also found that nearly a quarter of respondents read scripture passages on their smartphones. So why bother condemning these devices, Jason Caston (innovations specialist for T.D. Jakes ministries) wondered, when we can embrace technology to further enhance our faith?

“…[F]aith-based organizations have been embracing technology for ages. Sacred texts were originally written on stone tablets and scrolls. It was not until the invention of the printing press that faith leaders had the opportunity to flip through the pages of scripture. Mobile devices and apps are our modern day stone tablets and scrolls,” Caston wrote on AT&T’s Consumer Blog.

Spirited by the growing acceptance of technology in church, Caston is championing AT&T’s newest campaigns: #InspiredMobility — a nationwide discourse that focuses on how the God-fearing population uses their devices to enrich their faith and spirituality experience.

“While watching an online worship service, I heard the pastor say ‘touch your neighbor and tell them this message is for you, and if you are online watching, click the share button and tell your social neighbors!'” he said.

Caston believes that whether the Word of God is delivered through tweets, Instagram photos, texts, or e-mails, its message still harbors the same inspirational impact in every medium. And that’s why, Caston says, he’s developed a platform called the iChurch Method, an e-book that helps ministries develop a digital presence online.

But Caston reminds us that not to cross the line. Giving us a lesson on digital usage etiquette, Caston explains the do’s and don’ts of mobile technology in church.

“Churchgoers should not become distracted, record an entire service, and answer phone calls or text. He does, however, encourage worshippers to download a scripture app, check-in on social media, share inspirational experiences, and even take a few selfies with your fellow churchmates.

“…[T]he more accessible inspiration content becomes on the go, the more people want to stay connected, inspired, and engaged,” Caston said.

What do you think about mobile technology usage in church? Yay or nay?

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