How Should We Think About Technology in Our Sunday Gatherings?

In a world that breathlessly awaits hearing how the latest technology is going to make our lives better, eaiser, and more fruitful, how should the church respond? In what ways do musical, audio, and visual technologies change us as we use them? Does God’s Word have anything to say to us about technologies that didn’t exist when it was written? Bob, David, and Devon explore these and other questions as they seek to help churches think about and use technology in a way that is both grateful and discerning.

Resources and Scriptures referenced in this episode:
God, Technology, and the Christian Life by Tony Reinke
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

“Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed.”” (Isaiah 54:16–17, ESV)


Questions to ask about the technology you use on Sunday mornings:

1. Is it the least imposing technology for the task?
2. How expensive is it? Can it be fixed if it breaks? Who can fix it?
3. How might this technology benefit and hinder us in pursuing God’s purposes for our gatherings?
4. Does this technology serve in building us together as a spiritual house? Does it conform us to who we are together in Christ or atomize us as individuals?
5. How does using this technology increase or decrease our awareness or our constant dependence on the Spirit of God?
6. How does this technology shape us as a congregation or an individual?
7. What values are fostered through the use of technology?


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David Zimmer: Welcome to the Sound Plus Doctrine Podcast. My name is David Zimmer.

Bob Kauflin: My name is Bob Kauflin.

Devon Kauflin: And my name is Devon Kauflin.

BK: Hey, he’s made it, we don’t even call him a guest anymore.

DZ: I love it. Yeah. How can you have a guest for five seasons? [chuckle]

DK: I don’t know.


DK: That’s a good point.

DK: Good point.

DK: The sometimes-co-host.


BK: Yes.

DZ: I wish it was the always-co-host.

DK: Sorry.

DZ: But you live in a different state.

DK: Okay. It’s true.

BK: Alright, so am I taking it from here?

DZ: Go for it.

BK: Let’s hear. This is smooth. [chuckle] Alright, today we are gonna talk about, answer the question, try to answer the question, how should we think about technology on Sunday mornings? This springs from a seminar, Devon, that you did at the WorshipGod Conference, end of July, where I asked you to speak on what’s the place of technology in our Sunday gatherings. And so I just thought it would be a little helpful…

DK: And funny story, when you asked me to do that and then I’d done the work for that and then I’m talking to you about it and you said, “Oh, that’ll be too easy for you, you’ll just say, ‘Don’t.’”


DK: And then I had the same conversation with David and he’s like, “What are you gonna say? Don’t?”


BK: Yes.

DK: Like, what am I, some Luddite?

BK: Well, if the shoe fits?


BK: And one of the reasons I asked you to do that was because you have strong convictions. You’ve thought a lot about this topic, Technology. Your church… Your Sunday morning gathering would be on the simpler side. And how many people gather?

DK: 140, 150.

BK: Yeah. Meet in a school…

DK: In a school cafeteria.

BK: Yeah. And we…

DK: With lots of light and windows.

BK: With… Amen. [chuckle] Lots of light and windows, yes. But you’ve been a part of big church.

DK: Yeah.

BK: And in a different context, but you’ve thought a lot about it. And I wanted you to get… To have the opportunity to kind of crystallize, clarify some of the thoughts on it. So we’re gonna let you talk about some things and then interrupt you at different times…

DK: Yeah, ask me questions.

BK: And say, “Okay, prove that, you Luddite.” Something like that.


BK: Support that biblically.


DK: I do wanna start by saying that I really do love technology.

DZ: You do have an iPad on you.

DK: I have an iPad. I walk into my home and I’ve got all of my light switches hooked up to home kits. And I just speak commands and things happen.

BK: Yeah. He loves it that way.

DZ: Bob wishes that it was that way.

BK: I do. And that’s how it was growing up. He’d just speak things, expect things to happen.


BK: I had to tell him, “Devon, that’s not how the world works.” But now it does for him.

DK: So technology is really a wonderful gift, and it’s a gift from God. But I think it’s important that as we come to this topic and I… This comes up everything that we talk about, I think, we have to remember what is God’s purpose for our gathering. So if we’re gonna talk about technology on Sunday mornings, first, we have to begin with, alright, what’s God’s purpose for our gatherings? Why are we even here?

BK: Yes.

DK: And I think if we were to poll the members of our churches and ask, oh, so why are we here? And there would be many, many different answers that you would get.

BK: Yes.

DK: And some of them would be probably right on, some of them would be a little bit off, some would probably be a lot off. But what determines our purposes is not a democratic endeavor.

BK: Yep. Take a vote on it.

DK: That’s not what determines the purpose for our gatherings. God determines the purpose for our gatherings. And so what does God intend to do as we gather? And there’s a lot that could be said but I think one thing that consistently comes up, I state it this way, is that God’s called us together to be a grateful and astonished witness to the worth and work of God in order to glorify God, build up the Church and proclaim the gospel of salvation to the world. And that’s what we gather together to do.

DK: In 1 Chronicles 16:8-10, “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!” And so this is why we gather. Other things may happen as we gather, but, this is the main event.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: Yeah and it’s so important that we recognize we don’t have to be creative in the sense of figuring out a reason to meet. Or creative the sense of, we gotta figure out how to get people coming back. We are being stewards of what God is doing, what He’s done. And we just get to participate in that. It just relieves the pressure. And I think that’s what a lot of people feel when they come to this topic. It’s technology, “Oh my gosh. So much is happening, so much is happening.”

DZ: [chuckle] Yeah.

BK: What do I do with it? And I wanna make a comment too, before we get too far into it, just, I’m sure there are people listening to this. Most of the people who probably listen to this podcast, this wouldn’t be a major issue maybe. I’m thinking people would probably be a little bit suspicious of technology, maybe not. But the thing is, when we don’t think about it, things happen.

DK: Right.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: And that’s what we wanna address.

DK: Right. So as we gather, we need to remember that God is, and God is there, and God is there to do things to us, and in us and through us.

BK: Praise His name.

DZ: Yeah.

DK: With or without technology, [chuckle] that’s what’s taking place. So as we think about technology in our Sunday gathering, we have to remember why. And then, that’s the first principle, and then we can kinda work out other things. When I did the seminar, I then presented five, kind of, affirmations about God, technology, and the Church and so wanted to talk through those.

BK: Give them to us.

DK: And the first is that God does not need technology. So it just kind of flows from what we were saying in God’s purposes for our gathering. God doesn’t need our technology.

BK: Need in the sense of, he requires it to do His work?

DK: Well, first in the sense that He doesn’t need our technology in the sense that He has some lack in himself.

BK: Oh, okay.

DK: Yeah. Yeah. God did not create the world. And then on day seven, sit back and rest, and then think, you know what? This is good, but man needs to create the wheel.


DK: Once they come up with the wheel, then it will be really good. God wasn’t waiting around for our technological contributions, nor is there any kinda lack in and of Himself? I like what John Webster says. He says, “The existence of creation adds nothing to God and in its absence, God would be undiminished. God is in Himself infinitely happy, in need of nothing from the creature.”

BK: So beautiful.

DK: And so, it’s the same thing with, I think we can have this, I think this present mindset where it’s like, alright, this next iPhone or whatever it is, it’s like livestream. We have this ability to livestream now. And like, now God’s thinking like, “Oh great, now I can build my Church.”

DZ: Now I can reach the masses.

DK: Now. Yeah. Now the gospel will go forth to the nations because we have livestream.

BK: And it can be talked about in that way at times, like you have not worshiped the way you should worship until you experience this technology. We see it on all kinds of advertising.

DZ: Well, and the funny, the… Just this as a sidebar.

BK: None of this is funny. [laughter]

DZ: The funniest part about it is, our live streams are typically so bad. [laughter] It’s just like a direct signal into the microphone.

DK: So God doesn’t need our technology because he does His work through His Word, by the Spirit.

BK: Yes.

DK: And that’s how God has worked in His people. And that’s how God has worked in creation. He speaks and things happen. And that’s what we’ve gotta remember, first God, doesn’t need technology. The second thing is, second affirmation is, God is sovereign over technology. Tony Reinke has this great book, God, Technology, and the Christian Life is what it’s called. And in it, he uses this illustration of imagine a barrel, a 50-gallon barrel filled with 60,000 Lego pieces. And you think of all living things.

BK: Sounds like my living room.


DK: Think of all of the things that you could create with that barrel of Legos. And it’s just like, there’s seemingly for us, innumerable different things that we could put together from that barrel. God, to God, to the infinite God, that barrel is nothing. And he knows every single combination of every single Lego brick. And so he’s not surprised when Thomas Edison comes up with the light bulb. He’s not surprised when Elon Musk comes up with whatever he comes up with.


DK: Like, it’s not a surprise to God. He’s sovereign over it. And it’s been baked into the very fabric of creation. And so He’s in control of all of it.

DZ: Yep.

DK: And so I think, I know for me, I think I could fall on this side where it’s, I’m skeptical of new things that come out, and there can be in that skepticism, there can be maybe a fear like, “Oh no, what is this gonna do to the Church?”

BK: Yes.

DZ: Yep.

DK: And just knowing that no, God is gonna… God’s Word is true. His promises are sure. And He’s gonna build His Church and the gates of hell won’t prevail against it.

BK: Yes. Even with technology.

DK: So whatever technological developments may come and whatever questions they may pose to the church, they’re not gonna thwart God’s purposes. Because He’s sovereign over it all. None of it surprises Him. And that’s such a, I think, a freeing thought. And so then I think we are free to enjoy those gifts and not be afraid of them held in proper perspective. So God doesn’t need technology. God’s sovereign over technology. And then third and it comes from that second one. God gives technology as a gift to serve His purposes.

BK: And let me remind everyone that we are speaking particularly of technology on Sunday in the Sunday gathering.

DK: In the Sunday gathering.

BK: Not just general technology.

DK: These principles apply, technology in general and as Christians navigating the world. But yeah. But specifically we’re talking about in the context of the Church Sunday gatherings. Moving towards, how do we think about technology in relation to those? So God gives technology as a gift to serve His purposes, Isaiah 54:16-17 God says, “Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed.” So it certainly speaks to His sovereignty, but it’s not just that He’s sovereign over these things, but he has purposes for these things.

BK: Yes.

DZ: Excellent. Yeah.

DK: And so I’m recognizing that God formed Elon Musk in his mother’s womb, knitted him together and gave him the mind that he has and knew what he was gonna do. And it’s for God’s purposes.

BK: Yeah.


DK: Now it’s all… I think it’s very interesting that most technological innovation, particularly technological innovation the Church uses, does not come from within the church. And I think there’s something of God’s wisdom in this. Think of 1 Corinthians 1 and 2, that God chooses what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, what is weak in the world to shame the strong and the Church and the people of God, those devoted to God are normally not the innovators. They can be, but that’s not the norm. Technological innovation most often comes to, and Tony Reinke points this out in his book that I mentioned, most often comes through the godless. And the people that are really full of themselves and in a sense, see themselves as saviors of the world, yet, then God uses those things.


DK: Those innovations for His purposes. So God doesn’t need our technology, but God is sovereign over technology.

BK: Yes.

DK: And in His sovereignty, He uses technology to serve His purposes. Those were the three affirmations about God’s relationship with technology. But then there’s things that we can say about our relationship now, to technology.

DK: And the first thing is this. So number four, fourth affirmation, technology both amplifies and reduces our abilities and perceptions. And so this… We’ve gotta backtrack a little bit. So we’re talking about technology. What is technology? I remember asking, I asked my kids this at breakfast one day and my 10-year-old son, he said, “It’s a tool that improves.” That’s what technology is. I thought that’s a pretty good definition. Well, first he said a tool. And so I was… We were trying that out. So is it… No, no I’m sorry. First, he said it’s something that improves. That’s what technology is, it improves.

BK: Oh.

DK: And so I said, “So can you technology soccer?”


DK: He was like, “No, that doesn’t work.”


DK: So then he changed it to a tool that improves.

BK: Wow.

DK: And so just that idea that technology does amplify our abilities, and that’s what all technology does. It takes our knowledge and applies it in order to amplify our abilities.

BK: Yes.

DK: That’s what’s taking place. But at the same time, oh, so I think we can think about a telescope. And a telescope, it helps us to see things that are far away. We can see them more clearly, that’s what technology does. But at the same time that it amplifies, it also reduces. And so while I’m looking through that telescope, I can only see that one thing that I’m looking at, I can’t see anything else. Or you think about a magnifying glass, it helps me see small things close up, but if I lift that magnifying glass up, now, I can’t see anything.

BK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

DK: It distorts everything or it flips things upside down. And so it reduces my ability to see. It helps me do one thing well and other things, it has a negative effect on. So it amplifies and reduces.

BK: Your perspective? Is that what you said?

DK: Our abilities and perceptions.

BK: Okay.

DZ: Both.

DK: Yeah, either or. And so with this, it helps us, I think, to recognize that technology… We can’t think of technology as only a benefit.

BK: That’s great.

DK: And we tend to think of… Technology is a benefit. There are gifts that come through technology.

BK: We’re benefiting from technology right now.

DK: Right now we are.

DZ: Also dependent on it as well.

DK: And I think about my wife, she’s hearing impaired and she has bilateral cochlear implants, and it’s incredible technology that gives her the ability to hear. It’s remarkable. But as it amplifies her ability to hear, because of what takes place and the science behind that, when she takes those processes out, she’s not able to hear a thing, not at all. Her ability to hear which prior to her cochlear implants, it existed. Now that she has this technology, she’s entirely dependent on it. She can’t hear anything at all. And so there is this amplification and reduction that takes place, and all technology works that way. And so when we invented the car, we also invented the car crash. We didn’t intend that, but that came about.

BK: Well, and I don’t know if this where you’re going, but the breakdown of the nuclear family.

DK: Yep.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: When you mention the car. It just, people were able to get out and away and they didn’t need to be together anymore.

DK: You’re getting a little ahead of me.

BK: Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know…

DK: But we’re getting there, eventually.

BK: Okay.

DK: But every time we come up with some new technology, we’re also coming up with some new way to bring destruction into the world.

DZ: Yes. Right.

DK: As it amplifies and as it reduces. There’s one commentator who says that all aspects of human culture are in some way tainted by Cain’s sin. And so in Genesis 4…

BK: Yeah.

DK: Genesis, yeah. Genesis 4, Genesis 4 yeah Cain and Abel. And you see Cain’s lineage.

BK: Yeah.

DK: And technological innovation came through Cain’s lineage. And that’s the musical instruments and forgers, makers of weapons and…

BK: Yeah, those who dwell in tents and have livestock.

DZ: Yeah.

DK: And so all these things came from Cain and God used all these things and uses these things. And He tells us to use instruments to praise His name.

DZ: Right.

DK: For His glory. But everything that we do, it amplifies, it reduces. And so we need to remember that, and this leads to our fifth principle, which is that technology changes us in our environment. And I think this is really where…

DZ: Absolutely.

DK: Where the rubber meets the road when it comes to thinking about technology in our corporate gatherings.

BK: That’s good.

DK: We recognize that tools… We think about technology as this neutral thing and so it’s not good or bad. And that’s kind of a non-starter, it doesn’t really move conversation forward as to how we are to interact with technology.

BK: Yeah.

DK: But think about something like a hammer. And a hammer is a piece of technology that amplifies my ability to hit things.


DK: I can’t put a nail into a board with my bare hand. Maybe I could.

BK: I’ve tried sometimes.

DK: But I wouldn’t try.

BK: I do sometimes.


DK: But a hammer amplifies that ability. But when I pick up that hammer and give a hammer to a 2-year-old boy, something happens. In that amplification, something happens to him and the way he views the world.

DZ: Yeah.

DK: And now he’s just looking for things to hit.

BK: Everything becomes a nail.


DK: Everything becomes a nail. And so it does, it shapes us. Technology shapes us and we need to be aware of that. Neil Postman, he was a, let’s say a cultural commentator. He has this wonderful statement. He said, “Technology is not additive, it’s ecological.” And so he talks about the printing press. So Gutenberg’s printing press. And after that printing press was invented, he says, “You didn’t have… ” In thinking about Europe, “You didn’t have a Europe plus the printing press.” So technology is that additive, you had a new Europe.

BK: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

DK: It changed the entire environment of communication.

BK: It’s so true.

DK: And all that took place. And so technology changes us and our environment. And so I think we can do this little thought experiment. How have certain technologies affected our Sunday gatherings? And so I’m… If we think about… Let’s think about amplification and microphones.

DZ: Oh yeah.

DK: How has that changed our gatherings?

DZ: Yeah. Everything’s louder. Bigger. Yeah I mean, and then you can broadcast. It sends you out of your context to other contexts. It’s like dropping a rock in a puddle and you just see the… Just the added effect of our technological ability.

BK: It separates… When you have a sound system, you just feel separate. It’s not like my voice going out to people, it’s separate and like we’re…

DK: It’s a disembodied voice.

BK: Yes.

DK: In a sense, that’s how people are hearing it.

BK: Yes. You can feel that way. And you can start to focus on aspects of performance that aren’t related to just singing. So I know I would put people in a choir that I wouldn’t have on a solo mic because when it’s solo mic, it’s like, everybody can hear it. And I wouldn’t want you to be on that solo mic, but you can sing in the choir, that’s great. And that’s not dissing them. It’s just being real and saying that it adds the fact that you can focus or hear a voice that’s really beautiful but it takes away the fact that people who have a good voice, but not a great voice, won’t be able to do that. So in terms of using gifts and that’s something I’ve been aware of.

DZ: I think something else too that technology adds is a stimulation. It’s a stimulant, and all across the board, whether it’s screens or multimedia or something running lights off and on. It’s like, it’s… I mean, it’s not like a preacher getting up and speaking for an hour and a half without amplification to a room. There’s so many things happening when you add technology.

BK: Well and again, that disconnect, I just think of when you come to a small group meeting, everybody just does what they come to do. You sing, you share, it’s everything right there. With the added element of technology, there is this distance that happens. And so even when I’m in your monitors, I have to have an ambient mic so I can hear the congregation, otherwise it feels very, very separate. Think of projection, we’ve gone from, well, an oral tradition where you just pass on songs by what you hear to printed music.

DK: Which is a form of technology.

BK: Which is a form of technology. All these are forms of technology, well that that is. To the overhead projector. God bless me, all right rest in peace. Where you had the box of transparencies and you had to put ’em up there, that was technology. And, oh boy, we were so cool because we could project things to now you can project it from your computer. And there aren’t people holding things anymore. Lots of benefits to that, but there are things that are detracting as well. I don’t know if those are the kind of things you’re talking about.

DK: Yeah, with the microphone, think about the fact that, it’s amplification and microphone. Sound amplification, it’s only been around for, I don’t remember exactly what it is.

BK: 50 years? 60?

DK: No, probably more like 100 years.

DZ: More than that. Yeah.

BK: Oh, like on a, yeah, maybe Sunday morning. Yeah.

DK: But even so, you think about the Lord has been at work building his church for [laughter] 1900 years prior to that.

DK: But now he’s doing a lot more because we have a…

DZ: But it’s a lot louder now.

DK: But it’s a lot louder now. [laughter] but and there’s… I think it’s… We want to recognize both benefits and drawbacks. And so up until 1900 years ago, you couldn’t really… You couldn’t gather more people than you could project to.

BK: Up until 100 years, what do you mean? Or no up until 1900 years ago?

DK: Did I just say 1900?

BK: Yes, yes. [chuckle]

DK: Definitely not 1900…

BK: Yeah up until 1900 years ago. Wow, yeah.

DK: Just the other day.

DK: Up until 100 years ago. Sorry, the… But then you’d have some people that were extraordinarily gifted, like George Whitfield or Charles Spurgeon, who they were able to speak.

BK: Well in his lectures to my students, Charles Spurgeon, who’s lived at the end of the 19th century, amplification, the ability to communicate loudly was one of the qualities that you would look for.

DK: Then you had to have.

BK: And a preacher, you had to have it. And so now someone who doesn’t have that quality can be a preacher. And they can preach to thousands of people.

BK: They can talk very quietly like this and attract thousands.

DK: And be host on NPR.


DK: And I know… But it’s… But we don’t really think about that. Or how amplification has changed church architecture. It used to be a church, a building was designed for, one, it wasn’t designed for more people than could actually hear. But it was designed for people to be able to hear that person that was speaking and now that’s a… It’s an entirely different equation. And so there’s… I think it’s recognizing… What I would encourage people to do is recognize that there are benefits and drawbacks to every technology we use. And so you could talk about… You were talking about with projection, it does things to us, and it changes our environment. And so as we begin incorporating technology into our gatherings, we wanna first understand, alright, what’s our purpose in gathering.

DK: And then we determine what technology we use and how we use them based on how they serve that purpose. One thing that I’ve found is that as our technological capabilities expand, we begin to feel like, well, I should pursue all those avenues. And we talked recently about the 10,000 different backgrounds. It’s like up until five minutes ago, I didn’t even think about using one different background. Now I’ve got 10,000 to choose from. And now I think since I’ve got that ability, well, I should probably use it. And it’s an interesting thing that the well-intentioned people that are providing these technological capabilities, they might not necessarily understand the priorities of your gathering. Or be on board with the priorities of your gathering.

BK: And I think for a lot of them, it… There’s a sincere desire to help you serve your people well. I don’t think people are saying, “Let’s just make a lot of money here by selling things that will distract people.”

DK: Huge, huge market opportunity.

BK: Yeah. Yeah. Now there may be, but I wouldn’t say that’s…

DK: No people wanna serve the church, which is wonderful.

BK: Yeah, they wanna serve the church.

DZ: But the problem with that is, there’s so many additives that you just get lost.

BK: Yes.

DZ: You’re drawing from 8 million different technologically advanced things that you can add to your gathering.

BK: Well, and we haven’t even… And maybe you’re getting into this, but we haven’t talked about the musical technology things. I’m a keyboard player. I like to play the piano. I was there when the DX7 came out, the Yamaha DX7. The first digital synthesizer. I remember opening it in the box and… It’s like a long time ago. And I’ve seen what it’s become and now it’s like you need Ableton, you need Logic, you need… You just need all this stuff.

DZ: Yeah. Yeah. More things. Yeah.

BK: More things that you have to invest time and thought. And even if it’s not the time that you spend for the particular meeting, it’s all those hundreds of hours you spent typically trying to get to a place where you could do it without thinking about it too much for your Sunday morning meeting. But you do gotta think about it. Or tracks, getting all that. I just see people pouring hours and hours, dozens of hours into things that in the end I don’t know if they’re really serving the purposes that God’s intended for.

DK: Or it could be an electric guitarist who has… Spends the entirety of a time of practice.

DZ: Looking for that tone.

BK: Just dialing that tone. Yeah.

DK: Just looking for that tone. And at the end of the day, whether that pedal was on or off, I think the same things would’ve probably been happening as far as what God was doing in that gathering. And that’s not saying, again, it’s not saying it’s irrelevant or a waste of time but I think we wanna hold it in the proper perspective.

BK: And it’s helpful when an accomplished musician can come in, use all the tools without a lot of thought so that they can concentrate on the things that are most important. If in a Sunday meeting, you’re spending all your time thinking about the technology, something’s wrong. And I would encourage you either to hold off before you try and do that, practice, get better at what you’re doing or to change what you’re doing. So it may be that you just play things that are simpler and without a ton of effects.

DZ: We shouldn’t be dependent on them… Yeah.

BK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

DK: Cal Newport, he has this… He’s a professor at Georgetown and he’s written on technology. He has a book called Digital Minimalism. And he presents this, what he says, “The philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time and your technology on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support the things you value and then happily miss out on everything else.” And I think applied to the church.

BK: Yes, it’s excellent.

DK: Applied to the church, it’s not the things that we value, it’s the things that God values.

BK: Can you read that one more time?

DZ: Yes. Yes.

DK: Yeah and I’m gonna…

BK: People might be listening to this in their car and just missed that.

DK: So we wanna focus our technology on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support the things, I’m gonna say, God values and then happily miss out on everything else.

BK: Yes.

DZ: That’s so good.

DK: And so in that he talks about optimization and the importance of optimization. And he said that, “deciding a particular technology supports something you value is only the first step. To truly extract its full potential benefit, it’s necessary to think carefully about how you’re gonna use that technology.” And so I would see this, I think about ProPresenter and it was something we wrestled through recently going back a few years when we switched over to ProPresenter. And I wanted to think carefully about how we were gonna use that technology.

BK: Yeah.

DK: Because I knew once we started using it, there was this whole other world of ways that we could use it that opened up. It’s like… But just because I have the ability to do something doesn’t mean that that’s what I should use it for. Like, no, I really just want it for this one thing. And it projects lyrics really well. And that’s it. And then I happily miss out on everything else. And so I think we do well to think about that. I have some questions that I would encourage people to ask as they think about technology in your Sunday gathering.

BK: Before you go there, I think of one of the ways that technology has become a determiner is in the whole projection of lyrics where you have the video of the person leading or whatever. No matter the size of the church… The church will be 300 and you’ve got the video of the person up there or bigger church. And then you can’t have the lyrics over the person’s face, so they just put one-line things. And it becomes… I’ve seen situations where they didn’t have the person video, the person up there but the lines are still just one line. And what that does to a perception of what we’re singing is, it just makes everything disconnected. Everything disjointed. First, you have a very good projectionist to do that. They gotta be on top of things, really on top of things. But one of the beauty of the hymnal, and I’m not saying we should all get back to hymnals. But one of the beauty is, you can see all the lyrics there. And you can understand how they go together. Or putting more of the lyric on your screen. So four lines or eight lines even so that people go, “Oh, this is the thought that’s there,” rather than, “Here’s one thought. Here’s another thought. Here’s another thought. Here’s another thought.”

DZ: That’s an excellent point.

BK: So it’s teaching people to think in disconnected ways because we’ve allowed technology to become the master rather than using it for the purposes that God intended.

DZ: Excellent.

DK: It’s funny how that whole breaking up the lines and decontextualizing things. What a challenge it could present sometimes. When you’ll end up with a line that on its own is either heretical or doesn’t make any sense… It’s like get to the next line. Get to the next line.


DZ: Undoing your purposes.

BK: My sin. Oh, the bliss of this glorious thought.

DK: Right. And that’s it. That’s what we got up there. Quick, take a picture.


DZ: Oh, wait. The sound system turned off.


DK: So some questions that we might ask as we’re thinking about technology in our gatherings. Is it the least imposing technology available for the task?

BK: Say that again.

DK: Is it the least imposing technology available for the task? And so, in a sense being happy to miss out on everything else, is it the least imposing thing we can use? A projector with acetates more imposing than a hymnal or…

BK: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

DK: Projection ProPresenter.

DZ: Yep.

DK: I like this question. How expensive is it? And can it be fixed if it breaks?

BK: Great questions.


DK: And who can fix it?


DK: Sometimes we can rush to get technology and it’s… Or everybody’s got it or this other church has it.

BK: Yes.

DZ: That’s so good.

DK: And then you realize maybe a pipe organ, and you get it and you realize…


DK: Oh, wow. We’re stuck with this and no one can fix it.

DZ: We can never play in the key of D.


BK: Oh man.

DK: How might this technology benefit and hinder us in pursuing God’s purposes for our gatherings? So both benefit and hinder or in proclaiming and hearing God’s word in edifying one another. Other questions, does this technology serve in building us together as a spiritual house? Does it conform us to who we are together in Christ or atomize us as individuals? And some technologies we use…

BK: Atomize, is that what you said?

DK: Yeah. Atomize.

BK: Like make us like individual atoms?

DK: Yeah, exactly. Separate. Sorry.

DZ: A-T-O-M?

DK: Particular, A-T-O-M.

BK: Yes. Okay.

DZ: A-D-A.

DK: Not A-D-A.


DK: But I think about, and this could be a whole conversation, but in-ear monitors. So when we use inner in-ear monitors there’s this isolation that takes place that it does provide benefits. I can hear you. I can hear everybody.

BK: For those of us with hearing loss, they’re incredible.


DK: But it does… You had mentioned this effect, it kind of separates us from the congregation. And it might separate us from what what’s going on, taking place around us. So just things to be aware of. Does it minimize or neglect the pursuit of relationships? So God is saving people and means for them to be together. And does this technology negate or minimize or pull us away from meaningfully building relationships? How does using this technology increase or decrease our awareness of our constant dependence on the Spirit of God?

BK: That’s a great question.

DK: And so as we use, utilize any technology, in what ways might this increase or decrease our awareness that, you know what, all we have is God.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: Yeah. Yes. Yeah.

DK: And we need His help.

BK: Yes. Yeah.

DK: Or do we pursue this technological benefit as a means of asserting, “Oh, no, we’re good. We don’t really need God’s help.”

BK: Yeah.

DZ: Right.

BK: Go help some other church.

DK: Yeah. Go help some other church. And then finally, how does this value… How does this technology shape us as a congregation, as an individual, and then what values are fostered through its use? What values does it encourage us to ignore or pursue?

BK: That’s so important because the values you mentioned at the beginning are the Word of God. We’ve mentioned these a lot on this podcast, the Word of God, the Gospel, the church, the Spirit’s work. And if we are creating a culture where those things are minimized and what people are really moved by is, “This is really trendy, this is really cool, this is really hip.” they are at the front edge of technology here.

DZ: It’s familiar.

BK: It’s familiar. We’re not serving them. We’re not… I mean, people might come, a lot of people might come. And I think of a megachurch that grows quickly in… A church that grows quickly into a megachurch, just how often that can be the effect not of… The result not of the Spirit of God working people’s hearts because of the gospel, but just because you’re presenting them with a technological culture that’s familiar. And they go, “Oh, I want to be here.” Now, can God work in those situations? Of course he can. But the questions that we’re asking are more questions of purpose and aim and Devon, I just wanna thank you for all the thought you’ve put into that. We could talk a lot more about this, but those are great questions and we’ll list those in the description for the podcast. But I think they’re really helpful. There’s no one way of doing things, but it’s always important to consider are we using technology in the way that serves God’s purposes for our gatherings? ‘Cause they’re his gatherings of his people. Technology’s not the ruler, the Lord is. So we wanna make sure that we’re serving his purposes.

DK: Henry David Thoreau. He says, he said, “All of our inventions are but improved means to an unimproved end.”


DK: And Henry I’m sure he said that in despair.

BK: Oh, that’s great.

DK: But all we can do on our own is maybe pursue some improved means to an unimproved end.

BK: That is it.

DK: But thanks be to God that in Jesus Christ, he has redeemed us by his blood.

BK: Amen. Amen.

DZ: Yes.

DK: And that’s our hope and so that’s who we look to.

BK: Amen.

DZ: Amen.

BK: Amen.

DZ: Thanks for serving us so well, Devon.

BK: Hey, and if you have questions that you’d like us to talk about, send us an email.

DZ: Yes.


DZ: Yep.

DK: Is that all spelled out?

BK: Spell out the word plus.

DZ: Thanks for listening.