Adapting Ministry to New Technology

Pray for China, Journal Review Issue #224, November 2011

This issue of Pray for China largely focuses on the growing need to adapt traditional ministry to the demands of an increasingly digital world. Christian Communications Ltd. (CCL), the group responsible for Pray for China, offer their perspective on why working to embrace technological trends is not only a way to meet the needs for pastoral care, but also a way to reach out to a generation that expects information to be available on a digital platform. This edition also includes an interview with a pastor in Shanghai, who advocates the use of smart phones and tablets not just in the church, but as a way to integrate Christian education into everyday life. CCL and leaders of the developing church in China are using digital media as a way to expand their reach and make resources more accessible.

CCL wants to empower individuals with accessibility. They argue that a rapidly rising economy causes individuals to neglect moral conduct and social responsibility. CCL views the widespread use of digital media as an opportunity to build a more complete platform of outreach. With this foundation, the group hopes that CCL will be to serve as a strong positive influence on society. They have already created a smart phone application and aim to produce fifty e-books in next three years. The group feels a sense of urgency to equip the new generation of church leaders, so that they can serve more effectively.

An anonymous pastor from Shanghai answers questions about the actuality of using technology on the ground in a metropolitan area. In his opinion, growth in digital ministry resources is not only practical for reference, but it also broadens the reach of pastoral care. He specifically mentions the use of microblogging as a way to encourage believers. For church leaders, he notes, digital material can make reference convenient and teaching less cumbersome, as one can carry more materials on a tablet. For laypersons, he adds, accessibility to Christian media can nurture spiritual lives by offering enrichment on the subjects of marriage, family, and Christian living. Within the pastoral staff at his church, sixty-percent use a tablet in their day-to-day ministry. He concludes the interview by encouraging other church leaders to follow suit and learn how to use new technology. He hopes that a wider array of applications and digital products will become available in the future.

This issue of Pray for China shows that the increasing digitalization of our world creates new problems for organizations and individuals that typically work with printed materials. There are issues of copyright, financing e-publishing, and reaching those who are not familiar with e-materials. Once these obstacles are overcome, however, CCL believes that utilizing digital media will yield awards well worth the effort. Although this particular ministry group and the pastor from Shanghai recognize the advantages of using digital media to spread their message, the message remains the same. In the end, they simply hope to make Christianity accessible, and by doing so, have a positive impact on the people of China and on the country as a whole.