Few years ago, I was fascinated in learning about how technology can assist to improve one’s worship experience. And in fact it did and is doing. Thank God for technology!
However, after some years now I look back and realize there were a few good habits I had in the past in worship without the help of technology. Unfortunately, I have lost them. I thought maybe I am the only one doing it, but whenever I enter a church with modern facilities, I see something familiar. I look across the room full of worshippers and realize that a good number of them are also doing what I am doing.
I don’t know how each of person feels in a worship service. But here are three things I have noticed about myself because I either depended on technology or the way technology is used discouraged me from doing what I am used to doing.
I have become a spectator
I enter a worship room and sit down on an empty seat. Soon our favorite game, “Simon says,” begins – So I sit and stand and sit and stand until the service is over. The musicians sing a song and I try to sing along but my voice is drowned by the loud sound of music coming from the speakers. So I thought, “What’s the use of singing when I can’t even hear myself singing.” But I needed to show those beside me that I am singing so I just open and close my mouth pretending to sing without a sound coming out from it. Not only that, I cannot sing along with the worship leader because I do not know the songs that are being sung. It seems like in every worship service there are new songs to sing and I do not have time to learn all these songs. In the past we used to have a certain number of songs that we sing until the congregation is familiar with. Then we would introduce a few new songs to add to the old ones. Today, with the help of internet and youtube, it is different. In every worship service, there are new set of songs to sing. I look across the room and there are many who are not singing. I wonder why they are not singing?
I don’t need to bring my Bible to church anymore
I no longer cared whether I brought my Bible to church or not because it won’t be needed. The powerpoint does everything for me. All I need to do is bring myself. I do have a couple Bible apps on my phone but I don’t need to use it. It’s up there on the big screen.
I no longer take notes
I sit down listening to the preacher while watching the slides on the big screen. I pay so much attention that I forget to take notes. I no longer need to bring at least a notebook and a pen to take notes of what I am hearing from the sermon. Again the powerpoint does everything. It outlines everything that the preacher wants me to hear. I keep on listening until the preacher stops and the powerpoint is gone. I end up with nothing to take back home except the theme of the sermon or a phrase from the pp that stuck on my mind. During the week I try to reflect back on what I have learnt so far and realize I have forgotten what was said. I liked the message but I cannot remember it anymore.
I am left to wonder whether the church is becoming a place full of people who are physically present and mentally absent or is it only me that is going through this?
[For additional reading, click http://www.renewingworshipnc.org/2014/06/11/nine-reasons-people-arent-singing-in-worship/ to find out why people are not singing in church].