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How A Digital Ethicist Can Benefit Your Church

Katie Allred

How A Digital Ethicist Can Benefit Your Church

Katie Allred

Digital technology has impacted the church in many ways, especially during this pandemic. Behind every week’s online church service, the church staff works hard for everything to go well. Almost every church today uses this technology to operate more efficiently and effectively in their communication with their congregation. 

At the moment, there are over 200 software programs dedicated to churches to help them make their work easier. As this technology is utilized by many, we tend to forget that there are also ethics within these platforms. So how can a digital ethicist benefit a church’s communications? Here is a post made by Chad Hugghins on our Facebook group regarding the topic and some of our members’ input. 

The Post:

“Does your church have a Digital Ethicist on staff?

I was listening to a podcast with Jack Dorsey (Founder of Twitter), where they were challenging him about the toxicity and polarization that can be found on Twitter now, and were asking him if he had any regrets in decisions they made in building Twitter that may have led it to this place.

His answer was interesting.

He said that his one regret was that they didn’t hire Ethicists and gamification experts in the very early days of Twitter. He said they genuinely had no idea how big the communication tool was that they were building.

And the thing that jumped out to me was that he said that they didn’t really take time to thoughtfully consider the effects that certain product decisions could have on people….

In their case, it was things like having a public follower count, the like button, and public count of likes, etc.

I immediately thought of churches, and how the digital strategy decisions that are made can affect a congregation’s relationship with the church and with their relationship to Christ.

Is there someone, or a group of people, that are thinking deeply about the digital strategy decisions that are being made at your church and the effect that those can have on your congregation?” 

Comments:

“I’ve said for a while that pastors should be more involved in social/comms, especially when communicating or responding to difficult comments. If they took just a little time to think, it wouldn’t be too hard to reflect on biblical ethics on how tech ought to be best used.” Wes Gay

“If churches would pay for their comms directors to receive seminary and ethics classes, it would help.” Seth Muse

“I wish everyone making decisions for a church could be well-versed in both ecclesiology and general cultural engagement issues, including ethics (and spiritual formation).” Alison Dellenbaugh

Conclusion:

Technology provides so many benefits, especially during these trying times. We should always keep in mind that every decision we make in the digital world affects us more than we know. Think about how we benefit from it, but aside from that, how it impacts our churches and our relationships with our congregation, most of all, with Christ.

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