For those of you who will be attending a religious service this coming Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, you may be surprised to see one particular newcomer in attendance at your place of worship…technology! Here are 5 forms of technology that may be making an appearance:

  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • Data Projection
  • Credit Cards and Barcodes
  • Electronic Check-In

When you hear the words “church” and “tablets” you may automatically think “Ten Commandments,” but those aren’t the tablets I’m referring to here! The fact of that matter is that priests are no longer referring to their handwritten notes during mass. Some aren’t even using an old-fashioned Bible. Instead, they are using tablets for their notes and Bible apps to look up text. My pastor uses his iPad on a regular basis these days!
While I haven’t observed texting at church firsthand, a friend of mine recently told me about a sermon during which the reverend encouraged the congregation to text him with questions they had about the sermon.  When he finished speaking, he read the texts aloud and answered the questions for the entire congregation.
Even if texting isn’t encouraged during your worship service, the lady next to you might not be misbehaving just because she’s using her phone during service.  She may actually be taking notes or looking up scripture verses to follow along!
Data Projection
I think we would be hard-pressed to find a church that DOESN’T use data projection of some sort these days. Even the most technology-impaired churches seem to have a large projection screen with PowerPoint. Used for announcement slides, song lyrics, sermon outlines, and more, projectors and “big screens” modernize church services, offering a welcome visual aid for parishioners.
Credit Cards and Barcodes
The process of tithing has become more efficient in many places of worship, now that barcodes are in the mix. Offering envelopes with barcodes are now available for many congregations, allowing for timely and accurate recording of contributions.
Forgot your checkbook? No problem. “Giving Kiosks” have made it easy for donors to pay by credit card before or after service.  If kiosks aren’t yet an option, plenty of churches have set up online portals for donating by credit card from home. They even offer the option of automating tithing and emailed receipts.
Electronic Check-In
Leaving your children is a source of anxiety for many parents, but there is no need to worry if your nursery or Sunday School has an electronic childcare check-in/out system. Parents are able to update family information, including medical/allergy alerts and even restraining order notifications. With electronic systems, children and parents typically receive matching stickers or wristbands that must be verified at pickup time, and parents are notified via pager or text message during service if they are needed.
Stuck at Home?
If weather or illness threatens to keep you home, chances are good that your church has a website with past audio/video sermons available for free download – and some might even stream their services live!
I’m looking forward to seeing what kinds of technological improvements are made in my church this coming year.  Have I forgotten anything on this list? What kinds of technology have you seen in action at your place of worship?  Tell us through Twitter or Facebook!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year

From the L-Tron Team!