"If worship is about creating community, Twitter is an undeniably useful tool."
"He likes the way it helps him see what God is doing in other people's lives during the service."
These remarks come from an article in Time right now about a church integrating Twitter into their worship services... and the other churches hoping to follow suit. Read it.
The last line in the whole piece I think is telling. They are going over the sorts of emails this pastor has been receiving lately, and end with this: "Got any tips to persuade church leadership this is way cool?
That's a great question. How can we best pitch cool things to church leadership? If they can't be convinced, the whole congregation will miss out.
In all seriousness, while I think this desire to integrate 'cool' into worship is terrifying, there are other issues here which I find more frightening.
"Worship is about creating community"?
The dictionary seems to have missed the mark quite a bit on worship then: "the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity."
The scriptures, too. There, worship seems to be more about "ascribing to the Lord the glory due His name."
In a 'worship service' where the congregation is constantly looking at the comments of their neighbors in the pews and constantly looking to offer up their own comments, when will we say that we've crossed a line, and that the attention is no longer on God but on ourselves?
And what about this idea that Twitter builds community?
We who are one body because we partake of the one bread, participating in the body of Christ, are we to build community through micro-blogging. There are too many shallow relationships in a church already, without social networking removing us all yet another step from real people and real relationships. The development of a community in the early Church involved the selling of one's possessions and distribution amongst all, as there was need. I think that is quite the contrast.
Some questions have been raised lately about how the way the church presents to gospel shapes the message of the gospel (here Rob Bell interviews pastor Shane Hipps, author of Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith, on this very topic). This is a situation where we need to consider these questions long and hard.
Again, here's the article. Go read it, and let's hear what you think.