Every year, churches wrestle with this question: “what is the right use of technology in the church?” Too much and you’ve gone overboard. Too little and you are left in the dust. A large number of pastors are now preaching from iPads and other tablets. Is this good or bad?
In Nehemiah 8:5 we read:
And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.
There are a few things to note about this event.
First, Ezra used the Word of God as a visual for the people. It’s easy for us to just read the verses off the screen nowadays, but it says something when you open the physical book.
Second, Ezra was standing in a place of prominence, so everyone could see the book. The Bible should have prominence in our church services. Does this mean a pulpit? A table? You decide. The point is, it should be clear where your authority comes from (hint: it isn’t you).
Third, the people had a reverence for the book. When we honor God’s Word, people respond to that. Crafting a sense of reverence around the Word is not a charlatan’s affair, it is giving people an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of the Bible. Give your people the opportunity every Sunday to reverence God’s Word.
Using the physical Bible as a visual does two things:
1 – It creates an awareness of authority. People begin to understand that it is not you speaking to them, but God through you.
2- It creates corporate respect. Want your church to respect the Bible? Use it in front of them in a prominent way.
So should you preach from an iPad? I do. I have my notes on it, and reference them throughout the sermon. But I don’t use it as a substitute for my Bible. I still preach from a physical Bible. Holding up the physical Word of God still says something in our digital culture. Don’t take that experience from your people.
What do you think? If you are a pastor, do you preach from a physical Bible or use a tablet?