CALL TO WORSHIP…
PASTOR: "Praise the Lord!"
PASTOR: "Can we please turn on our tablet, PC, iPad, cellphone, and Kindle Bibles to 1 Cor. 13:13. And please switch on your Bluetooth to download the sermon."
PASTOR: "Now, Let us pray, committing this week into God's hands. Please open your Apps, BBM, Twitter, and/or Facebook and chat with God..."
PASTOR: "As we take our Sunday tithes and offering... Please have your credit and debit cards ready. You can log on to the church Wi-Fi using the password Lord909887."
Ushers circulate mobile card swipe machines among the worshipers. Those who prefer to make electronic funds transfers are directed to computers and laptops at the rear of the church. Those who prefer to use iPads, flip them open. Those who prefer telephone banking take out their cellphones to transfer their contributions to the church account.
(The holy atmosphere of the Church becomes truly electrified as ALL the cellphones, iPads, PCs and laptops beep and flicker!)
PASTOR… “We have several announcements to share in closing:
*This week's ministry cell meetings will be held on the various Facebook group pages where the usual group chatting takes place. Please log in and don't miss out.
*Thursday's Bible study will be held live on Skype at 1900hrs GMT. Please don't miss out.
*You can follow your Pastor on Twitter this weekend for counseling and prayers.
PASTOR: "Praise the Lord!"
This is based loosely on the rather humorous piece titled “Church Services in the Future”, found on multiple sites around the internet. (I tweaked it a bit so it looks a little more “Baptist”.)
(As you do, note how interesting the various comments are at this particular posting.)
The point is that we are living in a time when technology is having a profound impact on how we worship. And yet, this need not necessarily be divisive, as worship has always incorporated advances in technology to some extent.
There was a time when only lamps were used. Then came candles. Then came electric lights. Now we have spot lights and soft lights and floodlights. Likewise, there was a time when there were only open windows. Then came ceiling fans. Then came air conditioning; and as a result, we don't dare open the doors or windows now.
For that matter, there was a time in the Old Testament when worship occurred only at outdoor shrines. Then came a tabernacle (or tent of meeting). Only much later did a temple building eventually come into being. Moreover, the early Christians themselves met in homes for around three hundred or so years before any actual Church Buildings were ever constructed.
The point of all this is that, when it comes to worship, it is less the accoutrements and more the heart that matters. For my own part, I will never be comfortable with worshipping God on my couch via the internet. But I preach to increasing numbers of people weekly who come to church with their respective iPads, Kindles, Nooks, tablets, e-readers, and/or smartphones; and I am okay with all of these things.
Just as long, that is, as they are using them for Scripture reading, note taking, or some other activity directly related to the experience of worship itself. On the other hand, if they are just surfing the web or checking their e-mail or, Heaven forbid, playing a game, then they are arguably not participating in worship at all - at least not with any true sense of authenticity.
Again, it is all a matter of the heart, not technology. And the proof is that many people who would never dare open up an electronic device in a worship service will nonetheless regularly sit through a service of worship and allow their mind to wander over a multitude of issues while either daydreaming and or else scheming their plans for the remainder of the day or the week, all while never once having prayed or sung or pondered the meaning of the sermon with any serious reflection.
Worship is a matter of the heart. It always has been. It always will be. Clay tablets, scrolls, parchments, papyri, codices, books, and now electronic readers have all supplanted one another in turn. The God they have each successively glorified, however, remains the same, yesterday, today, and forever! Amen!
(And yes, for those of you who did actually read the comments on the above referenced web page, my wife and I have actually worshipped together at the drive-in church down in Daytona Beach, Florida while on vacation [http://driveinchurch.net/]. In fact, we liked the sermon so much that particular morning that we found ourselves following the example of our fellow worshippers as we joined in honking our horn to signal “Amen!”)