How are phones changing faith and evangelism?

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends,

I am seeing more conversations about how smartphones are changing the practice of faith and the shape of evangelism.

I would love to hear from you… how does owning a smartphone affect your walk with the Lord? What are the positives? What are the negatives? And - how does all of this enable (or discourage) an evangelistic lifestyle?

(Olivia Davis) #2

I think that there are some really good things and some bad things about smartphones in relation to faith. The good news is that we can avoid most of the bad things, but we have to have a lot of discipline to do that!

One of the biggest ways that my phone helps me in my walk with the Lord is that it makes it easy for me to listen to Christian music and sermons wherever I am. So many times, I’ll be at the gym or somewhere totally ordinary, and a song comes on that God speaks to me through and uses to encourage or challenge me. Another way it helps is it makes it easy to connect with other people – we can exchange contact information easily. I have Godly relationships established after only a week of in-person contact that have been maintained because of technology. Finally, I can use my Bible app to read anywhere!

However, the easy accessibility of the entire Internet can also be distracting. I’ve been praying and then my phone rings or dings or vibrates or lights up or an alarm goes off or Siri thinks I’ve asked her a question. I’m just not mature enough to not look at it, so I’ve had to come up with solutions: airplane mode, turning it off, putting it in another room. Also, being so tuned into texting, social media, maintaining those long-distance relationships can make me not spend time in person with other people, or, worse, be with someone, but not really present.

Indeed, the constant bombardment of things, including Christian radio and even the best sermons, can actually make me more distant from God. I may have been hearing about him all day, but I haven’t actually talked to him. Worse, it can make quietness seem alien. A lot of my Christian walk is being still before God. I think that if we don’t manage them, our cell phones can make us miss out on the joy of being with Him. The problem comes when listening to music and sermons, etc., becomes an end in itself, instead of something that leads us to God. When we don’t turn off the cellphone and ultimately come before God ourselves, then that’s a problem.

That said – I don’t know if they enable or discourage an evangelistic lifestyle. I think that when one lives with an evangelistic lifestyle, the cellphone will enable it greatly. However, it can also very easily hinder it if we do not manage it well.

Looking forward to hearing other ideas!!

(David Bruce Young) #3

My phone aids me in a number of spiritual disciplines. I listen to a Ravi podcast every day. I keep daily prayer lists on my phone. I read my Bible on it. I write newly memorized scripture verses to review for a month on it. I also have a word app and write on mine. I write weekly blog posts and I have actually written 7 books mostly on my phone. @Daveswatch

(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #4

This is a good question, @CarsonWeitnauer. First off, I would like to comment that owning a smartphone in itself is not sinful or bad, but it starts to be depending on what we do with it.

Based on your question about how it is positive or negative to us, I do agree with @Olivia_Davis on her points. The easy access for Christian music, sermons, information, and contact with people really helps us in our walk with God and in serving others. This is positive. What’s negative is that indeed, in a busy world, we do forget to rest in God and our smartphones can help in making us distracted or restless. It makes us use our precious time on trivial things as well.

There are pros and cons to it, I notice that people tend to not to interact with other people and just focus on their phones, which is not helpful in the evangelistic lifestyle. This should not substitute real life human interaction. Even friends who gather at times don’t talk and just look at their phones as they gather together. This is something we should fight based on our human nature. It’s easy to pretend or have an excuse not to talk since we have a phone to distract ourselves into.

Still, smartphones in itself does not negate an evangelistic lifestyle. I’ve seen Christians use apps in sharing the gospel to strangers. They use pictures as well or videos to record the events to encourage others and let people know that they are sharing the gospel. The easy to get information helps in equipping the saints as well for the Great Commission. Like everything that God created, it’s good, and we can redeem it by looking at smartphones with eyes that are fixed on eternity.

(Tim Ramey) #5

First off, I’m odd (in many ways!) but because of the area we live in, I don’t have a smartphone. Of course there are many points that have been given that give the benefits of the phone. As has been said, there are great things about it.

However, where it does impact evangelism is because Christianity should be relational. When I come from the country and go to the city, I’m amazed how the smartphone is glued to the right hand. In restaurants, repeatedly I see couples sitting across from each other and each of them conversing or texting someone else rather than talking to the person sitting across from them. While talking to me, people are texting during our conversation. Technology has detracted from a relational lifestyle with more impersonal email blasts, Facebook, Tweets etc. I will say again, I’m not painting Smartphones black, but they have detracted from the one-on-one relational aspects where someone is looked at in the face and listened to. Relationships can involve calls but where it really happens is with others in real life - in person.

(Jimmy) #6

Personally, my smartphone has become the greatest and simplest way i can get to study the bible because of the many christian apps i can download and learn more from them. Technology has kinda made it easy to evangelize to thousands across the world without the physical limitations that the first missionaries faced. I thank God for such kind of wisdom in our generation.

(Tabitha Gallman) #7

I think @Olivia_Davis summed it up best and to @omnarchy he made an important point about people tending to not interact with other people. I am reading a very good book (not written by Christians necessarily, but worth sharing) called: “The Lonely American” by Jacqueline Olds, MD and Richard S. Schwartz, MD. They talk about our social disconnections and focus some on technology being a culprit, but overall how our society is changing in a negative way due to less socialization face to face.

I recently deleted Fb from my phone mainly because of the time I was spending on it. Recently the state of GA passed the “hands free” law, which is a good thing, but it’s forcing me to not have that convenience when I leave my house since my car does not have bluetooth capability.

Although I do love my multimedia for Christian music and videos, and it does make it easy to share with others, I honestly do believe the more time you can spend away from your devices, good will come from time doing other things.