Isn’t technology something?
The other day I flew into Baltimore-Washington International Airport, where a friend picked me up. As we walked through the parking garage toward his car, I noticed a terrific use of technology. Above all the parking spaces are sensors which determine if the space is occupied by a vehicle. At the end of each row is a sign which displays the number, if any, of empty parking places in that row. So instead of having to drive up and down row after row of parked cars looking for a space (as at the Memphis Less-Than-International Airport), you can know immediately if there’s a space available down that row.
Now that’s the kind of technological innovation that makes life easier. If only there were more such applications.
For example, couldn’t that BWI parking garage technology be applied in a local congregation? We could install pressure-sensitive sensors in every pew to determine if a space is filled. Even from the back of the sanctuary, ushers could check an electronic monitor to see where there was space available for late arrivers.
Better yet, install similar technology in offering plates. When an offering envelope is placed in the plate as it goes by, a lovely melody begins to play (perhaps “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”). Likewise, if the plate passes a seat and doesn’t detect a gift being placed, a less pleasant tune could be offered (maybe “Repent Thou Sinner Poor and Needy!”).
Speaking of sensors: I’d pay big bucks for a technology that would monitor the body language of people in the congregation while I’m preaching. It would tell me if they’re sitting up at attention (OK to throw in a few Greek participles) or if they are starting to slump in their seats (time for a sermon illustration from Rocky).
Actually, what I’m really thinking about investing in is one of those Palm Pilot devices — also known as the $200 substitute for the 99 cent notebook. It’s just that a bunch of my friends are using them these days — carefully using that little stylus to make notes in a unique and challenging shorthand apparently descended from an obscure dialect of the ancient Aztec language — and I hate to be the last kid in the neighborhood with the latest and coolest toy.
They are called PDA’s (personal digital assistant, or particularly destructive approach, whichever you prefer). I’ve yet to see the preacher daring enough to use one of these PDA’s to keep his sermon notes in them, but I suppose it’s just a matter of time before some eager young cleric steps into the pulpit, PDA in hand, and begins his sermon:
“Turn in your Bible to Lark … no, that’s Luke IT. No, wait, that was supposed to be a 15. Well, anyway, we are looking this morning at the Proverbial … no, that’s supposed to be Prodigal Son. Oh, never mind. Just pray amongst yourselves while I decipher this …”
A brave new world may be on the horizon, but I’d be willing to settle for a desktop PC that doesn’t crash at the most inconvenient ti————————————————————-

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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