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Church and digital revolution today

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By Frank Obonyo

 I travelled recently to Tororo district for Christmas break and as a custom, the community expects financial support from most of us travelling from Kampala.

 I received a pledge card from St Andrews Church of Uganda, Per-Per Parish. It is one of the methods my local church uses to raise funds.

On a spiritual note, this is an opportunity for every Christian to thank the Lord for the gift of life and resources He has blessed us with throughout the year.

But I asked my Christian zone leader about the purpose of this money, I was told that the Church uses most of the funds to build a house for the Parish priest and buy more pews.

I agree with my Church leaders that there is need for expanding the current buildings, but most of our churches have not embraced digital communication.

It is true that rural Churches are located in remote areas without electricity or internet services. They do not have technology savvy staff, yet the whole project requires adequate resources to set up.

It is also a fact that urban Churches are more skilled in digital communication than their village counterparts.

However, I believe Churches are endowed with resources than many institutions. Firstly, Christ said that He will build His Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Mathew 16:18).

Spiritually, the Church is unstoppable and was given the mandate to break the shackles of sin, poverty, ignorance, oppression and the like.

Invest in modern technology

The Lord Jesus also said that with God all things are possible. This possibility includes investment in digital communication.

I was so saddened that when Covid-19 hit the world, most rural Churches stopped preaching the Gospel.

Many people, perhaps, were not delivered because they did not get the message of the Lord.

It is high time the Church utilised new technologies for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Church leaders should be equipped with technological skills to reach this dynamic congregation.

Among its members, the Church can identify an information technology expert to willingly equip leaders with computer technological skills.

 The Church should network with some of its educational institutions to sharpen the clergy’s digital communication skills. This is a great opportunity which the Church has not exploited.

The Church also should embrace online communication because it must preach the Word and remain ready in season and out of season.

This is because the world has gone digital and most urban Churches rely on social media sites to preach the Gospel.

Rural Churches also need to stop being technologically laggard and spend more time building their presence on digital platforms.

Finally, today’s preachers are not only expected to deliver sermons from the pulpit but also research, write, promote God’s message and engage congregants on digital platforms.

I agree that technology remains sparse in rural churches, but their followers own mobile phones, they are of different ages and interests, appreciate authentic, well packaged and timely message.

The Church should restructure for the mobile era; acknowledge, prioritize and invest in digital communication with urgency.

The Writer is Communication and Marketing Manager, Uganda Christian University Mukono

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