Church must look at its methods of connecting with changing society, and change accordingly
COLUMN BY KEN BANKS
Recently, one of the world’s largest tech giants – Apple – released an update to its software, known as iOS7.
Millions of people around the world eagerly downloaded the software onto their iPhones, iPods and iPads waiting to see what new gadgets they would discover.
And if you aren’t in the market for one of the soon-to-be-released new iPhones, etc., and had to hang on to an ‘old one’ (meaning two years old), then this download was being billed like you were getting a whole new piece of hardware.
Pretty big stuff.
But in the midst of all of this hype, Apple is attempting to fend off competition from other smartphone and tech companies that are using the android system, some of whose companies are rivaling Apple for global market share.
Just a few years ago, Apple was the leader in this area and was dominant. While the company is still very influential (and its stock worth a lot of money), some of the competition has either caught up, or is nipping at their heels.
As Bob Dylan sang, “The times, they are a-changin.”
I’m a Canadian, and I love to support Canadian industry and innovation. This includes BlackBerry – our own smartphone tech giant. Well, perhaps giant is too strong a word.
As recently as 2007, BlackBerry was the world’s largest and most well-known cellphone maker. It was the king of the hill. In fact, nearly half of all global cell phones being sold were BlackBerries.
Today, it is struggling just to survive.
Case in point, on the same day Apple released its latest update to huge fanfare, BlackBerry released info on its new smartphone, the Z30, a seemingly impressive new ‘phablet.’ The problem - almost no one paid attention to the announcement. Even BlackBerry gave little promotion to their new flagship phone.
Blackberry, once the king, now is trying to hold the fort at three per cent or so of the global market.
In just six short years, the times have proven once again, that they are a-changin’.
Now this column is not intended to be a space for tech talk, but I do have a point that coincides with this sort of discussion.
Things, whether they be institutions, buildings, families, communities, careers, etc., all eventually change. Some people embrace these changes, others put up with them and some try and resist them.
If you don’t think change happens, just look in the mirror.
As a pastor, I tend to see, hear and read about a lot of tension on this matter of change in churches. People that have, in many cases, poured their lives, money and sweat into their local place of worship, eventually grow accustomed to what they appreciate and like about where they are. This is normal.
Folks that at one time were agents for change – because that’s how you got things done – then have a harder time with someone else’s change, because it isn’t the same way that they saw good things happen.
But as culture and society and the way people look at life changes the church must look at its methods of connecting with that culture, and change accordingly, if it is to be influential at all.
Yet, here’s the greater tension. While methods need to regularly be reviewed and altered, the message of the good news must remain the same.
If we proclaim a message that doesn’t need Jesus, then we aren’t His church. The hope of humanity is unapologetically Jesus.
The old story never changes … how it’s packaged definitely should.
Ken Banks is the pastor at the Wesleyan Church in Truro. You can visit their website at www.trurowesleyan.ca