MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Pastor Wayne Miller joins us for this edition of Faith Time. We wanted to talk about faith and technology–in what ways has tech enhanced your ministry?
Guest: Greatly. As a more traditional congregation that has been ministering in Mobile for the last 153 years, we were forced this year to establish an effective online presence and use the technology of our age to continue ministering the Gospel. Grace has taken the cautious route throughout this pandemic. We trust God but we don’t test God. With the help of a few members and without hesitation, we were streaming services and bible studies online when we needed to do that and we still are today. I’m sure many churches can relate to the fact we reached more and more ears with the Gospel by using the God-given technologies provided for us as the best avenue for this year. We are able to immediately give worship and homilies and song and prayer to people in their own homes in 43 states so I would say it has been enhanced in unimaginable ways.
Anchor: The internet brings us a flood of information and temptation at the same time, how does one avoid slipping into some of the seedier aspects of online content?
Guest: I believe that everything in all of creation is created by God for His Kingdom and the devil and the world abuse it. Those who want to destroy others are closer to us than ever because we are only one click away from a dangerous person, an inappropriate website, or an ungodly influence. If you are a parent with children, their devices will get them in trouble. Recognize the enemy together. We need to raise our children by acknowledging right and wrong and holding ourselves responsible. Some will say, “I want to give my child privacy. I trust my child. I raised them well.” I say good for you. Your child isn’t being raised by you. The internet raised them. Their smartphones raised them. And the results are terrible. We can do a better job of protecting ourselves from such temptation with being responsible and using the safeguards available.
Anchor: One danger I’ve heard from pastors when it comes to online worship is that congregants can fall out of the worship habit with online service. How concerned are you about that?
Guest: It is known that the study of God’s Word and attending church even online is declining in our country more than ever already, now this year, more challenge is upon us. A major concern is losing human to human contact with one another. On top of all the benefits of technology and online communication sits the need for real relationships in life. The Church is no different. With relationships come friendships, accountability, and service to one another. Online services provide people with God’s Word and Good News, but it cannot share in fellowship nor can it break bread. The danger is losing that sense of community not just in the church but in all areas of life. That will have a negative effect on our society. We might be divided even more so in the coming years. So I say to my people at the very least, online services are good, in-person worship is better. My members would agree.