Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The speed of change

This evening I began reading a book on how to integrate technology into a business.  The book was published in 1998, only 14 years ago.  That didn't seem that long ago until I began reading the suggestions the author was making about technology.  Enjoy of few of his quotes.

"With the price of fax/phone machines now down around $300, they are almost as cheap as a sophisticated voice mail machine alone."

"There will be no heavy discussions on the relative merits of the new 56K modems that enable you to access the Internet at zap speed...."

"Many computers now come standard with 32mb, which is more than enough for you."

Talking about hard drive capacity the author writes, "Most computers now come with 1.8 to 2.1 gb...Who cares if you have 2.1 units of storage?  It's more than most of us will ever need."

Wow, technology has certainly changed a lot in 14 years.  He didn't even mention cell phones, but he did insist that business owners make use of pagers.  Obviously, the section of the book that discusses technology is vastly out of date even though it is only 14 years old, but that section makes the whole book seem questionable.  Are any of his suggestions still valid in 2011?  Actually, I have found some that makes sense, but after reading the chapter on technology I'm not nearly as excited about reading the rest of the book.

Many people feel that way about church as well.  One of the primary reasons people do not attend church is because they find it to be irrelevant to their lives.  In a WI-FI world they see the church as a dial-up modem.  By the time we finally getting around to implementing some change that we've discussed for three years we find that society has already moved on.  It's like we finally get around to getting that 8-track player only to find that CDs don't work in it and that we can't download podcasts to it.

It's not only technology that has changed so much in the past 14 years; it's virtually everything in society that has changed as well.  If the church is going to be relevant to the current generation it is going to have to learn how to share the gospel message in language and in methods that speaks to the challenges and needs of today.  The inability or refusal to do that will mean that people will continue to ignore our churches and the life-changing message we can bring to hurting people.

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