My family and I relocated to the St. Louis metro area two years ago. It was the first time any of us had spent any significant time here, so we often found ourselves relying on technology to find things. Learning new streets was a lot easier with a map program that rerouted us if we missed an exit. Finding stores, restaurants, and even points of interest, we made new and interesting discoveries with a simple electronic inquiry. People who had lived here all their lives told us we were locating treasures they didn’t even know existed, places we found on the phones in our pockets.
If it seems these days that everyone has a phone, it’s because they do. The latest data from Pew Research indicates that 96 percent of US residents carry a phone. Whether it’s young adults (99 percent) to those over 65 (91 percent) using phones, from those in cities (97 percent) to those in rural areas (95 percent)—the portable screen has become truly ubiquitous.
The first impulse of many pastors and church leaders is to lament the detached, disengaged society these machines seem to have produced. No one would deny the reality of overuse and abuse, but those of us in ministry should not overlook that this is where many discoveries and first impressions are made today. If your ministry does not have an internet and social media presence in 2020, it is comparable to not having a sign on your property.