Jerry Johnston Interviews Simon Vibert on Technology in the Church26 September 2016
You are probably reading this blog on your laptop and have your phone and tablet within reach. These are valuable communication and study tools, yet the church needs to revaluate how men and women in the church are being discipled in the technological age. I asked Rev’d Dr. Simon Vibert, Director of the School of Preaching and Vice Principal of Wycliffe Hall at the University of Oxford, about preaching in the digital age. Engaged first hand with pastoral training, I asked Dr. Vibert if the 90 minutes of teaching parishioners receive on a Sunday morning is adequate for their spiritual growth. He replied,
“That is a good question. I think things have changed quite a lot with the advent of WiFi and smart phones and our access to information. I mean we, you know, you can type something into Google and get an answer to almost everything within reason easily. But information transference is only one part of what is required in order to grow somebody into a mature disciple of Christ. And I think that people are hungry for relationship, people are keen to see the social, spiritual, familial change that comes as a result of a new life in Christ. So I think the resource that we can use and I think churches need to be fairly savvy in terms of how they embrace or reject new technology, but let’s not forget that we’re human beings who relate to other human beings and that actually God grows his people through a community he calls the church. So, I don’t see that a church will ever succeed if it doesn’t include a gathered congregation, but it might well be that we need to think about how we use modern technologies well to support learning and disciple making along side the relationships that should happen in every local church.”
Utilizing technology in discipleship is a goal of Cristie Jo and I. Not only are we writing a trilogy of books to accompany our upcoming documentary, but we are also developing multiple digital resources for pastors and the men and women they serve.