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Our Blog

I Thought I Had Technology Figured Out

Posted by Ryan Brown on

“Technology is in its proper place when it helps us bond with the real people we have been given to love.”

 

– Andy Crouch

I’m a tech-savvy, 26-year-old communications director. I thought I had technology figured out. Then I had kids. (Our second child is due in January!)

All of a sudden, responsibility for technology in my family hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that I didn’t have much of a technology plan for myself, much less my family.

More often than we realize, we look to our parents for how we should live and how we should parent our children. But this is new. My parents never had to make family decisions about smartphones in every pocket, everywhere Wi-Fi, and the explosion of social media. I had to learn this one from scratch, so I turned to a book titled “The Tech-Wise Family,” recently released by Andy Crouch with research from the Barna Group.

As my wife and I discussed the ideas and stories Andy shares in each chapter, we began building a strategy of how, at our house, we will give technology a back seat to the things that really matter. Here are a few of the strategies we’ve put into place:

  • Our devices go the sleep before we do and we wake up before they do. We plug our phones into a power strip in the living room at dinnertime. Unless we have something specific that we need a phone for, they remain there until breakfast the next morning.
  • Car time is conversation time. We learned that conversations often shift when they hit the 7-minute mark. Research shows that it is around that point in time when someone says something with some risk and deep conversation can take place. The car is one of the best places to reserve for conversation or doing things together, not for being on our devices or in our headphones.
  • Our home is a creative space. We want to set up our home in a way that promotes and rewards creativity. We now have a space to feature our children’s artwork, and we have hopes to eventually find a good deal on an upright piano.
  • We avoid the feeds. We learned that the amount of entertainment we consume is often a sign of how bored we are. Rather than turning aimlessly to the feeds of social media or the latest, greatest on Netflix, we’re attempting to find creative ways to spend time together and only turn to social media or TV when we want to do something intentionally.

Easy-everywhere culture and the prevalence of technology hasn’t gone unnoticed by our church either.

On one hand, we are working constantly to make information more accessible than ever and event sign-ups and registrations simpler and more digital than ever.

On the other hand, we want to create a space at Bethany where our church family can be fully present in the moment. Upon entering the Worship Center, everyone is handed a bulletin that says this on the inside flap:

Welcome to a sacred space.

It’s time to gather with our church family to worship our King.

We encourage you to disconnect from the busy world around us and focus on Christ. Use airplane mode on your phone if it helps!

He is worthy of our undivided attention during our time together.

Prepare your heart to encounter him here.

As we come together with our church family, we are there to connect with others, be restored into Christ’s image, grow in our relationship with God, and bless others because God first loved us.

Can you imagine the difference we would see if our entire congregation made the decision to be fully present in each moment?

If we all implemented strategies for how to use technology for good?

If each of us resolved to focus our time on things with eternal ramifications?

Now, of course, I recommend everyone find a copy of this book (or the audiobook) and give it a read. Andy Crouch provides some of the best insight and guidance I’ve seen on how technology is shaping culture and ideas for how to manage it. Learn more by clicking here.

But more than that, I pray that my words inspire our church body to be strategic when it comes to technology. I still have a lot to learn, and I hope that I can encourage as many as possible to join me on this journey.

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