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Monday, June 22, 2009

Texting in Church

If you go to church, you have probably seen the signs telling people to turn off their cell phones during the worship service. You won't find that at my church. I encourage people to use their phones.

Now, I don't encourage them to take calls. (Though they have and should know better!) I do ask them to silence their cell phones. I encourage them to text me or someone else in the congregation or a friend of theirs on the outside. I ask them to give me questions to my sermon which I may answer (if there is enough time) at the end of the service. I encourage them to ask each other questions about the sermon or even repeat a point that I have made to someone. I believe it brings the message to life.

The younger generation is the most multi-tasking group of people ever. They can listen to music, study andIM their friends at the same time. They seldom do only one thing at a time. That is, until they get to church, when we ask them to sit still while we instill. They are bored silly and my preaching is just not good enough to keep them interested.

Our only other avenue of keeping the attention of this generation is multi-sensory-stimulating activity. That is extremely hard to balance. They often get the thrill but lose the message. They notice the special effects but miss the story of the miracle. In other words, if your special effects are too good, they miss what you are trying to say. If your special effects are lame, they think your message is lame.

Therefore, I encourage them to text or to doodle or anything else that won't bother others but will enhance their worship experience. Coping a point on a piece of paper helps a person focus and remember the message even if he never reads that point again. Texting someone else about it helps them understand and apply the point. Even asking a question about what is being said helps.

Currently only a few people text me during the sermon. I wondered if encouraging them to text actually took all the fun out of it. Some save the number and text me during the week. It has been a great way for me to minister to people.

I believe the Holy Spirit can speak to people in ways that I never can. I believe that He can take one of my sermons without any stimulation from me and change lives. I also think that God told us to be wise when we give our messages. This means we must think of ways we can convey them so that people will listen and remember.

Turn off your cell phones if you church has the policy that they should be turned off. I believe it is disrespectful to disobey their request. However, if you ever come to mine, turn on your cell phones. I would really like to know what you are thinking and I think God can use that text to tell you something that I never could.

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