A virtual congregation

People would argue that phones in church are a necessary evil because we give our offering using mobile money. 

But I would argue, maybe this shift was because churches realized they were making more money online than the coins they used to collect physically. It’s fair to say that someone would find it hard to contribute less on mobile in comparison to the basket. 

I find it easier to contribute Kes50 sadaka to that basket doing rounds because no one can tell who I am. Ask me to send the offering via M-PESA and I will not send less than Kes200. 

Interesting right? That we are less afraid of being seen by the invisible God but are squeamish when data reveals our identity and the worth of our offering to men of God.

But that is besides the point, once mobile phones found themselves in the church, there was no going back. 

The introduction of phones into churches has sparked a debate about what the church should look like in the modern age. 

For centuries, the church has been a place of solace, reflection, and reverence, where people gather to connect with their faith and community. The church has been a haven for fellowship. A place people go to get away from everything. But with the rise of technology, many churches are struggling to adapt to the changing times, and some are turning to smartphones to help bridge the gap.

On the one hand, introducing phones into churches can be seen as a positive step towards modernization. With the proliferation of smartphones and social media, people are more connected than ever before, and incorporating technology into the church has helped make it more attractive and accessible to younger generations. Churches are now embracing the idea of online sermons as a norm. We can even see churches active on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. 

As a millennial parent, who was brought up in the church, the traditional church in its entirety where we woke up to attend sabbath school, I am a little bit wary of these advancements because I have that deeply rooted belief system that a bible is not a bible unless it is KJV and a hardcopy. 

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I walk into modern churches today and everyone has hymnals on the phone, flipping through scripture on mobiles and tablets, and for some people don’t have those bibles in softcopy, the church projects the scripture for everyone. It’s confusing as to how this is acceptable now. 

How can I encourage my small boy to find time away from all these screens and scour the word and truly study the word when everything around him says otherwise? I feel it would be very pretentious.

The real fear and I am quite sure that I am not the only person thinking about this is the obvious concern that the introduction of phones in churches has eroded the traditional values and best practices of the church. Some might even say that this is the most real distraction in modern-day churches. 

Most people used to doze off if the pastor was a little boring. Nowadays, people just go to their phones and find other ways of passing time. The sad part about this is that most of what they will find is not edifying which just corrodes the purpose of attending church, to begin with. 

I worry that the solemnity of a church experience is truly lost. Our children are being introduced into a culture that’s lacking in morality and virtuousness. If a kid is seated beside you as a parent and you are busy double tapping a reel and you expect him to respect that house of God, that is a total pipe dream. 

The real question here is, while the world is becoming increasingly digital and all sectors are trying to keep up with new trends, are we losing the fibre of what makes us truly human? In the race to catch up with evolution, could we be losing everything that preserves our values and traditions?

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