Unless you are a new reader to this blog, you already know two things about me:
- I am married to a pastor.
- I think he is the best pastor ever.
As if the man needed to have his stock go any higher in my book, he did a fantastic thing in church – he encouraged texting! Not only did he encourage us to text in general, but he encouraged us to text him…during the sermon!
Check out what he put on the screen throughout his sermon yesterday:
Not only is the man encouraging texting during church about the sermon, but he is then going to take the questions and comments and interact with them in a blog. This is a humble and daring move for any pastor. It’s almost like saying, “Hey – just so you won’t forget how you argue with my points today, just stand up in the middle of church and start a conversation with me.”
The problem with doing that would be that the same vocal, outspoken people would stand up and make their points week after week while the thinkers sit back and ponder all of it. Thinkers need time to process the information and deliberate a bit with themselves before they interact with the pastor.
This process allows for all to have their say. I talk out loud to think to think things through (I would be one of the people monopolizing the talking if he asked us to that instead)…I texted him my two questions during the sermon. But I am pretty sure that some of my thinking friends went home and texted him later in the afternoon with their comments and questions.
Both approaches are valid, and my huz is validating both approaches. The congregation has about 24 hours before he blogs about the sermon, his extended thoughts, and the comments and questions from texts that he received. By noon each Monday, you can read his blog about the sermon the day before. Check it out by clicking here, and you can check out his sermons by clicking here.
Beyond any of what I have mentioned so far, though, I believe the most amazing part of my huz’s willingness to use texting as a communication medium between himself and his congregation is his willingness to embrace technology and the behaviors that come with the changes. Consider this: how many of those in the congregation already text, check Facebook, or do something on their phones already? Rather than saying, “Put your phone away and listen!” he says, “Take your phone out and text me a question.”
This is revolutionary.
The perception from the masses is that – as a pastor – he should be stifling this misbehavior in church. Instead, he not only encourages it but also embraces it. He takes what people are already doing and asks them to incorporate it into their worship. I realize that there are many out there who would disagree with this, and that is their right. They just happen to be wrong. The technology is there. The people are engaged in and with the technology. Why not meet the people where they are and engage them through technology?
Before anyone thinks that I am a total nut, let me explain that I do not advocate for a screen as your pastor. I do think that there are ways that technology can go too far. While I can see the mega-church point of consolidating pastoral staff by piping in the message, I do not like it. I think that something is missing – the pastor…the one who shakes hands with the people in that building as they walk out the door after the service, the one who can pray with someone right there, and the one that preached that sermon and can interact when someone has a question.
And church is not about entertaining – it is about worshipping our Creator and connecting with Him and His people. While the huz was on sabbatical a few summers ago, we attended some churches whose services were more like a concert and a motivational than a worship service with someone challenging me from the Bible.
All that I am trying to say is that a little engagement with the world is good for the church. We do not want to become the world in the sense that we follow into the sinful ways; however, we do want to use the tools that the world provides for us to do things better as well as to engage the culture (those in the congregation) in worship.
And for that – I applaud my huz for letting me text him sweet-nothings while he preaches.