TOPIC: DEPLOYMENT OF ICT TOWARDS CHURCH GROWTH
TEXT: Mark 13:10 KJV
And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
The challenge of Church growth is rapidly becoming a difficult matter to church organizations who are not ready to deploy Information and Communication Technologies in order to enhance their growth and expand their circle of influence to cover the teeming wired generation who are consistently living, and can hardly stay one hour away from the use of ICT gadgets.
Understanding the fact that ICT over the years is confirmed to make the entire world a global village, this seems to fast becoming an old assertion as recent development in ICT has now brought virtually all the market places into private homes and personal convenient places while on motion or at rest. Many more people connect and converse on the net every second. The use of ICT is now reduce to the use of a Telephone handsets. We are now in the era of e-business following after the developed world. Transacting business is no longer on a face-to-face basis but via ICT from the initiation of the transaction to the delivery of goods or services to the final consumer or end user.
The move from conventional approach to ICT deployment for Pastoral service and worship activities would provide a great opportunity for Pastors in reaching the teeming ICT population right where they are without leaving the convenience of the office.
We shall therefore be looking at few of these numerous ICT innovations.
- What does ICT stand for?
Simply put, it is the science and use of Information Communication Technology. Today, the science and it’s applications has become widely accepted and made available in the remotest environment of the globe. Communication has never been so easy to access as we have it today. We can communicate without having to connect a cable or visibly carrying a connecting devise and off we go. Thanks to ICT.
- How can the church put ICT into use for the growth of the church?
In our world today, there are several affordable soft wares applications to assist benefit from the use of ICT in virtually all facets of life. Let’s check the list of areas where soft wares have been developed to help in ministry assignments. We have the intranet, the internet, the multimedia, virtual networks and other platforms. These tools are now largely available and in use by over 32.9% of our population in Nigeria (source Wikipedia 2014). The majority of this number are the Youths and Teenagers bracket who are to be harvested for the Lord in the various communities where our churches are located.
Let’s look at each of these platforms and the ways they could be deployed for church growth.
The intranet provide network specific to a group., whereby linking up each member to the data base available on the network and accessible to every device registered on the network by the members. The network runs on a specific software previously installed to satisfy the interests of the group using it. This can be put to use by group of churches e.g. Zone, District e.t.c in coordinating activities of the group for:
- Dissemination of information
- Distribution of messages
- Transfer/receiving data
- Logging attendance into services
- Identifying first comers
- Recording and monitoring church assets
The internet provides a World Wide Web which enable users all over the world to access information without limit. A user can make search for information or communicate with other users once there is an email account set up for signing in and access to the internet service provider’s link e.g. Yahoo, Goggle, Outlook, e.t.c
Having access to the internet will enable users to automatically open individual account and perform the following actions:
- Send and receive mails
- Search for interest on net, and meet new friends
- Create group, events
- Reach out to the public with Gospel messages
- Send out invitations for church meetings
- Share Gospel tracts
- Follow up of guest/visitors
- Collection of Tithe/Offering
There are several applications on the internet that could be deployed towards church growth. Let’s look at some of them
Basic requirement for internet usage
- Table top Computer (i.e. Desktop), or
- Laptop Computer
- Phones and iPhones
- Internet subscription
The VIRTUAL OFFICE
This platform provides communication and address services without providing dedicated office space. Virtual office means space utilization without necessarily having a physical office. The virtual office idea came from a combination of technological innovation and the information age.
Virtual office can be very useful for missionary work whereby you can carry out all the planning and searching for a new location and also hold meetings without necessarily being in the same place while on a missionary search before a physical church location is established.
Video conferencing with other churches or individuals can be conducted through a virtual office and meaningful decisions taken. It can also be used for disseminating ministrations to converts without they being physically in the same place.
This ICT platform make possible sending and receiving of video, pictures, voice, text messaging to different location at the same time. A Church service can thereby be viewed live in several locations around the globe in real time once turned in for reception.
- Computers installed with relevant softwares
- Television sets
ICT provide the church the capacity to effectively reach, receive and retain souls. It also provides great opportunities to disciple more converts who are finding difficult to attend fellowship. Many unchurched people could be reached right in the convenience of their home, offices and privacy. We also have the advantage of proper documentation of church records that can help in planning new churches to be planted, workers to be sent, and coordinating activities from the center no matter how far away from branches.
There is the advantage of closing distance gap from foreign Mission fields thereby reducing the pains of Missionary who often times suffer neglect and abandonment on the field.
The good news is that creating email account is free and there is daily innovations on the field of ICT thereby regularly bringing down the cost of acquiring ICT gadgets and internet subscription.
Psalm 68:11 KJV
The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it .