When people think of science fiction, many picture what the future could be like in a negative way. Artificial intelligence is going to take over the world and we are all going to have all of our meals out of a straw. Of course there are examples of positive advantages of the future but for some reason it is in our nature to fear the unknown or make the unknown scary. What if instead we look at the technologies that we know are coming and see how we can use these in a positive way? Technology today is moving from access to information to online and offline experiences. Take these three examples:
- Autonomous Cars: The self-driving car is coming to the masses sooner rather than later. The government will need to change some laws for this to happen and car companies and technology companies will have to partner better but in the end we will see driverless cars soon. How will this affect the church? Churches could start a “self-driving ministry” and help those who find it hard getting to church much easier. Think about the largest bus ministry that you have ever seen and with the ability to deliver content to the families on the self-driving buses preparing them for the experience that is ahead. This will make churches think through the entirety of the experience not just the time that is spent in the building. This could be incredible on many fronts.
- Augmented Reality: There have been attempts in the past to let us wear a pair of glasses and see a computer. These have not been very successful up to this point. What happens when you are not seeing a computer screen but instead you are seeing content overlaid onto the physical world in front of you? This is augmented reality. This is when you will be able to interact with a digital world and physical world all at the same time. Think about telling a Bible story to an audience and instead of having them watch a video of what Israel is like, instead they experience the terrain and feel like they are there at the mountain where a miracle is happening. Many of our entertainment, educational, and worship facilities will morph and change because of technology. Small group experiences will be better served because of experiences not just information.
- Sensors: Right now sensors are being put into everything. Our mobile devices, wearable technologies, home products, and yes even our food. These sensors are supposed to make our life easier to let us know when we are low on milk and can order more for us so that we don’t have to make that choice. They tell us how many steps we take, our heartbeat, and soon they will be in contact lenses that will alert emergency vehicles that we may be having a heart attack before we even realize it is about to happen. What does this mean for a faith community? Again it is not about information but about experience. Knowing that you are stressed out and that you need to hear a verse from the Bible that says God is with you. Security in the family ministry areas will be able to be increased. Better tracking of resources will happen to be able to measure effectiveness and more transparency will occur.
These are just three, and as you know many more are on the way. Does this scare you or does it let you dream of ways that God can work through them or yes, even around them? What technology do you think will be a “disruption” to how we do church today?