Alan Rudnick never was a fan of bringing phones into church sanctuaries and never did so himself — until about a year ago.
That’s when he discovered bona fide uses for electronic devices during worship services at First Baptist Church of Ballston Spa, N.Y., where he is the pastor:
• Capture and upload to the Internet video of visiting missionaries.
• Allow a worshipper to post a quotation from a sermon that struck home.
• Multiply the number of people able to fellowship with the community, albeit electronically.
So, at the Ballston Spa church, as in thousands of others nationwide, the use of electronic devices not only is allowed, but also encouraged. Rudnick believes it’s about time.
“I’m a modern person with a cell phone, and I get the whole tech thing,” the American Baptist minister said. “I figured out there were enough people in our congregation who are going to connect with what I am doing and be able to interact.”
It’s in the numbers
Mobile phone statistics indicate their use in cars, planes and houses of worship is all but inevitable. The numbers and the way phones are being used spell that out.
“Fully 91 percent of American adults own a cell phone, and many use the devices for much more than phone calls,” according to a September 2013 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
Other uses include text messaging (81 percent), Internet access (60 percent), sending and receiving e-mail (52 percent) and downloading apps (50 percent), the survey found.
More research from the Pew project found a generational factor to be considered in any policies around cell phones and smartphones.
A previous study showed 49 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 own smartphones, and it increases to 58 percent for Americans ages 25 to 34.
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SOURCE: Associated Baptist Press