Written by: Unknown Posted on: 04/10/2003
COLUMN: Trend Watch
Three areas of ministry that technology is transforming.
The winds of technology are blowing through various ministries of the church:
Strategic planning. Randy Frazee, pastor of Pantego Bible Church in
Arlington, Texas, and Tom Wilson (who, according to Frazee, "started off as
church administrator, but has become like our chief information officer") are
creating a computer program called Church Think, a ministry "flight
simulator." It allows leaders to "put in several different variables and see
how they play out ... over a number of years, to see if that accelerates or
decelerates your growth ... and spiritual development."
Based on the systemic modeling techniques discussed in Peter Senge's The
Fifth Discipline, Church Think focuses on what Wilson and Frazee call "the
five Fs:" flows, funds, facilities, formation, and foundation. Most of us
understand funds and facilities, but what of the other Fs? Wilson explains
the other Fs stand for "people Flows or head count, Formation--the scriptural
formation of the church, and the Foundational core group--the leaders." The
model allows leaders to see how differing levels of those elements impact a
The software should be out soon. For information, write Pantego Bible Church,
2203 W. Park Row, Arlington, Texas 76013 or e-mail: TWilson421@aol.com.
Visitor follow-up. Technology allows pastors to gather and see patterns in
statistics in a way sometimes not possible with manual methods. Dan Molloy,
information systems director for Willow Creek Association, recently
discovered something critical about visitors to Willow Creek's senior high
ministry. "If someone came three times, he or she stayed. This is the kind of
stuff we learn by tracking--when they came, who they came with, and how many
times they came."
Teaching. The American Bible Society has produced a new method of Bible study
that reaches young people using CD-rom and music videos. The software
presents the text under study in different ways--for example, an 'MTV'
version and a rap version. Three Bible studies are available: Out of the
Tombs, a dramatic music video based on Mark 5:1-20; A Father and Two Sons,
based on the parable of the Prodigal Son, available on CD-rom and video; and
The Visit, based on Luke 1:39-56, available on CD-rom and music video. For
information, call 212-408-1499.
--BILL GARTNER (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What leaders are saying about technology
"To help people come to terms with the need to put the gospel into electronic
form, I use a metaphor Jesus gave us. Remember the woman at the well? She
said 'I want some water.' And Jesus said, 'I'm going to give you water from a
well that never runs dry. I'm going to give you the living water.' So the
metaphor that Jesus used for the Gospel is living water.
"Water is fluid. Water is a liquid. You cannot find a container that water
won't fill. The key is: Never mess with the water. Don't mix it, don't dilute
it, trust the water as it is. But our job is to put the gospel water into
containers that people can pick up."
Drew University Theological School
Madison, New Jersey
"Technology can serve the church, but it can never be the tail that wags the
dog. Frankly, I don't see that as a real danger. For most churches, our
cutting edge is a large-screen video projector. While the World Wide Web is
being developed, we're still figuring out how to use personal computers for
newsletters and basic bookkeeping. The church is a good ten years behind the
"The gap must be reduced, for countless others, with decisively non-Christian
agendas, are using the latest technology to court the hearts and minds of our
--James Emery White
Mecklenburg Community Church
Charlotte, North Carolina
Copyright (c) 1996 Christianity Today, Inc./LEADERSHIP Journal
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