Almost two years ago, in March 2018, the Rev. Dr. Krystal Sears was appointed the first female pastor of Greater St. Luke AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. At the beginning of her tenure at the leading church on the Kingstree District in the Palmetto Conference, the Rev. Dr. Sears has already witnessed church growth as the result of using innovation and technology to engage multiple generations.
Early in her pastoral career, the Rev. Dr. Sears began her focus on generational engagement through Christian Education moments during the worship service. The lessons challenged popular culture and traditions in light of sound biblical interpretation. Soon those outside her church approached the Rev. Dr. Sears about gaining access to her educational tools. In response, she created an online pre-recorded Christian Education series titled “Say What Now,” which now reaches over 22,000 followers on Facebook in multiple countries and broadcasts in select local TV markets on the Christian Television Network (CTN).
Upon her arrival at Greater St. Luke, she immediately began to utilize technology to enhance the worship experience and ministries. According to the National Congregations Study published in 2015, churches are increasingly using technology such as utilizing visual projections during worship or having an online presence via a website or Facebook group. Like many churches, Greater St. Luke already had video monitors and a camera in the sanctuary. Yet, the Rev. Dr. Sears, along with her husband, Brother Craig Sears, revamped the church’s use of technology to intentionally engage multiple generations. “Worship must be for every generation or we have failed,” said Pastor Sears.
To engage the youth, a generation that has grown up in the era of smartphones and social media, the youth were able to create and star in a music video while simultaneously learning about film production. As a result of such activities, youth participation in the life of the church has increased. “When [the youth] see their church using technology, it stirs them. It gives them a level of pride for what they are doing. They feel valued,” according to the Rev. Dr. Sears.
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Source: The Christian Recorder