January 11, 2008

Review: 'Using Technology in Worship and Mission', The Methodist ICT Project, 2005

You can download this leaflet for yourself at http://www.methodist.org.uk/downloads/ca_technology_1005.pdf.

This leaflet, commissioned by the Methodist Church, lays out guidelines for how ICT can be used in methodist churches (and could then be extended to other churches too). 

It covers why ICT should be used, but warns that it is only a 'means, not an end'. It says, 'Every investment must be evaluated against its contribution to to the Church's mission in contemporary society.' On the whole, the arguments given were pretty well balanced, however the purpose of the leaflet is partly to demonstrate how ICT should/could be used in churches. Because of this, it presents a very good case for using IT in church, whilst warning against the pitfalls, but not really giving any evidence of bad use of IT. 

Many resources are linked to for further information, for example websites with free images for use in presentations. There is are basic ideas for how ICT is commonly used in churches, and some pointers to how to implement these methods. 

It gives some interesting case studies of innovative ICT projects, mostly initiated by the individual churches (often just by tech-savvy individuals within those churches) rather than the Methodist umbrella body. There is a good range of projects and their aims. Many attempt to get young people interested in church, or to include them by using their invariably-extensive IT skills. However there are also examples of projects aimed at older age groups, showing that IT is not just for the youth!

Some of these projects were relatively new, and although they seemed to have been implemented successfully, there is a need for seeing how successful they turned out to be in their 'contribution to to the Church's mission in contemporary society.' It is quite possible that projects may have been later abandoned when the people running them moved on, or funds run out. It is also currently in vogue for churches to be seen as technologically sound and innovative, so once this 'bubble' bursts, will ICT still be a useful and used tool?

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