6 Great Ways to Use Your Cell Phone in Church
When you come to church, don’t turn your cell phone off! Sure, you want to mute the ringer during worship, but don’t turn off the phone. There are some great things you can do with a cell phone that will help you and your church grow! Here are just a few of the best ways to use your cell phone in church:
- Check in to reach out. Years ago, Monday was outreach night. We would come to the church to get a list of “prospects” and then go out in the community and visit with those prospects to invite them to come to our church. To be honest, I never did like Monday night visitation. Today, one of the best means of outreach is right there in your pocket. When you arrive at church, “check in” on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. When your followers, friends, and family see that you are at FBC West, that tells them that something worthwhile is going on there, and that if they decide to come, they know you will be there to help show them around!
- Tag and hashtag. When something special is going on at your church, post or tweet about it and be sure to tag the church which will drive people to the church’s page or profile. Also, use a hashtag that identifies your church, like #FBCWest. One of the best ways to use social media in church is to quote your pastor or teacher when he/she says something that inspires you. When you post a quote, tag the speaker and use the church hashtag. That is a powerful way to expand the ministry of your congregation and spread the good news beyond the walls of your church. Worship hint: In order to avoid being distracted by all of the pics and notifications in your social media apps, you might prefer to write down the quote in your notes app, and post it when worship is over.
- Read the Bible — there’s an app for that. Don’t you hate it when the preacher says, “Open your Bible to…” and you realize that your forgot to bring your Bible? Well, you never have to worry about that again, because you can have the Bible right there on your phone (and let’s face it, there’s no way you’re going to forget your phone). Not only is it more convenient to carry your Bible on your phone, but it’s also much easier to find the exact text you’re looking for. Now you don’t have to feel like you’re in a race to get to the passage before the deacon next to you does. It’s easy to just open the app, tap on the book, chapter and verse and start reading. There are a number of different Bible apps for IOS and Android. My favorite one is full of options like reading plans, highlights, bookmarks, notes, verse of the day, audio, and the best part is it’s free! Look at bible.com
- The givin’ is easy. In 1934 George Gershwin wrote an aria for the opera, “Porgy and Bess,” in which the singer declares, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy.” We can adapt that idea a little and say that in church today, it’s summertime and givin’ is easy. You don’t have to check off a bunch of nosy questions on your envelope in Sunday School any more. You don’t even have to remember to bring a checkbook so you can put a check in the offering plate. All you have to do is go to the church website on your smart phone and give online, or better yet, just give your tithe and offerings via text! It’s really that simple. A while back we realized that most people don’t carry checkbooks anymore, and a lot of folks don’t even carry cash these days, so passing the plate on Sunday doesn’t give them a way to participate in worship through giving. We fixed that, so now if you want to give to FBC West, just pull out your cell phone and text a dollar amount to 254-221-7191. The first time you give this way, you will fill out a simple form, and from then on, it’s summertime and the givin’ is easy!
- It’s worth noting. The easiest way to take notes on a Bible lesson or Sunday morning message, may be right there on your phone. You can take notes in a word processing app that you downloaded, or in the notes app that came with it as part of the operating system. I use mine all the time and find it very easy to refer to my notes later because they are always with me, instead of in a notebook that I only pick up on Sundays. For serious note takers, I highly recommend the app called Evernote which is chock full of amazing options and will link with all of your devices so you can easily get to your notes no matter where you are.
- Coming soon: YouVersion Events. This is an exciting app that we are going to begin using at FBC West later this summer. It is actually part of the Bible app I described earlier. With it, we will be able to put a basic outline of the message directly in your hands and you will be able to fill in the blanks and add your own notes. We can also use it to show you images or scripture references from the message, share our announcements, suggest web links and other resources to follow up on that week’s message, and more. It will also give you an easy way to share ideas, events, or parts of the message with your friends.
Obviously, during worship you don’t want to let your cell phone distract you or anyone else from really worshipping and learning, so you have to use some self-discipline to make sure you stay connected to the Lord and the church. In other words, wait until later to text those emojis or make that call. Wait until later to crush that candy or stalk your friends on Snapgram or Instachat. Faceworld and the Twitterverse will still be there when you get to them after church, and let’s be honest – LinkedIn is just boring anyway.
This is not about sitting on the front row making sure everyone sees you on your cell phone. This is about using the technology we have in a way that honors God, and helps us grow and minister to others. (Just for fun, see the video that was produced a few years ago when our phones got “smart” and started infiltrating our church experience.)
See you Sunday, fully charged and ready to go.