Technology: A Tool, A Trap or A Tell? by David Hertweck

technology1Technology is no stranger to our lives. Its presence undoubtedly grows more pronounced with every passing day. Its impact presses more intently upon the normal activities of life than ever before. We build community online, we order food through apps, and we pray for one another via email and texting. Some people wholeheartedly embrace every new technological advancement and others are wary. Is technology a tool, a trap, or a tell? The answer, of course, is yes.
Technology is a tool that can help us better engage an audience filled with people who are primarily visual learners. Videos, PowerPoint presentations, even staging can help bring a message to life. Technology allows people to pay their tithe online or re-watch a sermon online. Like any tool—it isn’t inherently good or evil. It depends on whose hand it is in. Technology is a tool—use it and use it wisely.
Technology is also a trap. It can lure us into a false sense of community. A pastor can think his people know him because he tweets everyday. Conversations that really should happen face to face can now be relegated to texting. There can also be an overreliance on technology in the church service. Great staging and lighting and media cannot negate poor content. It’s a trap.
Lastly, technology is a tell. In a game where players bluff, a “tell” is a behavior that reveals something important that the player is trying to hide. Our use of technology can also reveal what is happening in our hearts. How enslaved we are to our phones or email accounts can often be tied to a need for human approval, a desire to be in control or an unhealthy interest in another person or situation. We need to ask the Spirit of God to reveal to our hearts what the real issue is beneath our engagement with technology.
Technology—a tool we can use for God’s kingdom, a trap we must be alert to, and a tell that the Spirit will use to draw our hearts away from lesser loves and back to Christ.

 David Hertweck serves as the District Youth Director of the New York District of the Assemblies of God.

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