The Missional Church and the new world of technology are upon us…Are you prepared? June 5, 2018

The Fourth and Fifth industrial revolutions of technology are reinventing your church staff, congregations and governing bodies and are TRANSFORMING THE JUDICATORY.

The transformation is happening whether you like it or not. The always-connected congregation is expecting the technology that permeates the lives of your people is the same technology in their church.

The Apostles and early Patristic Church Fathers used the communication modes and social media of their day to convey how the missional church and church planting was to be made real in their world.  We must realize our daily use of technology, and social media is giving new meaning to missional strategy, church planting, church technology implementations, cybersecurity concerns, and care and privacy of the community.

(Missional church as experienced in the early patristic life was all about community).

Throughout my blogs, I will use terms such as organizations, congregations, judicatory, church, and I will use them interchangeably with the purpose of coming to a better understanding of the missional church in the modern world with a focus on the patristic lessons learned.  The interchangeability will be especially true when we discuss the cause/effect of technology, privacy, and data; these are equally relevant and applicable to the smallest congregations as they are to any large judicatory.

What strikes me to some degree is that “missional church” today is an outgrowth of a sad state of the current Western Church. Asking the questions how do we communicate with congregations, how do we reach out to people searching for meaning in life and those who have been lost and forgotten in a world that is technologically moving at warp speed?  Technology that can bring people together in the same way it can separate people from each other is the technology that is we need to focus on.  The numbers of people in the world today far outweigh the numbers of people in the early patristic period.  How do we message and reach out to vast amounts of people in a framework of missional church based on a trinitarian theology formulated in the early church?   I am suggesting the tools of the modern era of technology of this fourth industrial revolution become the tools of the missional church.

The new “tools” are robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, The Internet of Things( IoT), 3D printing, and autonomous vehicles, Big Data, and what is coming to the USA soon: PRIVACY on a universal scale.

The missional church is more than having a solid understanding of the Word of God, it is an understanding of the trinitarian patristic church and the early movement of the Church Fathers, who were closest to what Jesus formulated as His Father’s Church.   When we study the early church fathers and there use of “the technology of the day” wee come to grasp what church planting is like in the trenches and reality of a missional triune God.  In Patristics we experience the trinitarian theology, humanism and what it means in the context of the Kingdom of God and ecclesiology.  How do we use technology to reach out to the masses?  How do we use technology to serve our congregations?  How do we use technology to bring about the spirit of God:  the Missio Dei.

There are three aspects of the technological revolution we must embrace to survive the transitions, and grow the mission. Three that every congregation and judicatory must openly discuss.

1.    You must innovate. Formulating the correct mission strategy lays the groundwork for your on-going re-invention strategies for the future evolutions of technology to come.  More importantly, it will allow you to survive these the up and coming new world of privacy laws and regulations. (By the way, these privacy laws are already in effect in Europe)   When you read Acts and the writings of the early church fathers you see the inspiration from the Spirit through their innovation.

2.    Education is key.  Developing a framework for understanding the technologies at play and knowing what their cause/effect means to everyone in your mission including your congregation is a must for your survival.

3.    The heart and soul of success is Collaboration.  Implementing the infrastructure to support the technology is dependent on collaboration with your enterprise, your partners, and your congregation.    Managing “change” is the essence of cooperation. Collaboration is all about leading people, your organization and yourself to move forward efficiently. The partnership is where the Spirit dynamically works.

Innovate | Educate | Collaborate. Think of it as your mantra for church planting and discerning and living out the Missio Dei.  Innovation, education, and collaboration is the art of reinventing your mission using frameworks that capitalize on the technology at hand and the work of the Spirit. If you are not innovating, educating and collaborating, you are fatally handicapping the purpose of God.

The world today.  We are experiencing rapid economic, political, and technological change interconnected with each other.  Education is paramount to combating the skepticism that may be present in the judicatory and the rank and file when it comes to technology in the church.  Just as in the early church and the use of their “technologies”; The technologies of the fourth and fifth industrial revolutions are presenting themselves globally and with a standard architecture that will allow churches to move forward rapidly.  Combating cyber malware is paramount for churches and requires the collaboration of all involved, this includes our congregation, technology partners, judicatory, and church staff. Security and privacy must be part of the design from the onset.  In the fourth and fifth revolutions of technology, you will thoroughly come to realize why technology is and never will be divorced from work of the missional church and church planting going forward.

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