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‘COVID-19 and the Digital Transformation of the Church’ webinar set for Friday

Church leaders encouraged to think about the theology of technology post-pandemic

by Tammy Warren | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Presbyterian Christopher Lim, co-founder and CEO of Seattle-based TheoTech, wants to help church leaders — technologically — in a post-coronavirus world.

Lim writes in his blog, meritandgrace.com, that these strange times of COVID-19 technology may be accelerating the fulfillment of Ephesians 4, where every member of the body of Christ has a gift that is essential to building up the body as a whole. He refers to this as a Second Reformation in the church.

“When I reflect on how the church in Wuhan is responding to COVID-19,” Lim writes, “I can’t help but notice the parallels to the early church in Acts 2:42–47. Isn’t it amazing that we can eat together, pray together, praise together, meet together, give together and devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching together virtually?”

Lim is helping to organize an online educational event for church leaders and technologists to discuss the theology of technology. “COVID-19 and the Digital Transformation of the Church,” will be held from 1 p.m. through 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, with a break from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time. The free virtual summit, hosted by Seattle Pacific University, is being funded through a grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. Learn more and register for the summit.

Participants will have the opportunity to share digital strategies for ministry and provide input into the creation of open resources that will enable churches to thrive beyond the pandemic,  according to one of the lead organizers, Michael Paulus, Dean of the Library, Assistant Provost for Educational Technology, and Associate Professor of Information Studies at Seattle Pacific University.  Presenters will share research and practices about digital churches and facilitate conversations about pastoral needs and technological opportunities.

In fall 2013, Lim and his younger sister, Natasha Lim, gave up their jobs at Amazon and worked for more than three years to co-found TheoTech, a self-funded company that aims in everything it does to make God its customer.

Chris Lim, CEO of TheoTech, serves at Union Church, a congregation in Seattle Presbytery. Due to coronavirus, Chris and the team at TheoTech have received many questions from pastors needing to move worship services and other elements of congregational life online. With churches discovering new ways of being the church, Lim and the other organizers and sponsors agree that when more familiar routines do resume, the life and mission of every thriving church is likely to include an increasingly sophisticated digital dimension.

TheoTech has become well-known for its award-winning prayer app, Ceaseless, which Chris designed and built to help smartphone users experience the joy of prayer. The free app connects to the phone’s contacts and sends a notification of three friends to pray for each day. Lim has calculated that it would only take 1% of the population to pray for everyone on Earth, which he believes is within reach in our generation. Currently more than 400,000 friends are being prayed for daily through the app.

“God’s desire, God’s vision is people from every language, every nation, every tribe worshiping Jesus together,” Lim said, referring to Revelation 7:9. Today, he said, the vast majority of churches are segregated by language and by culture, creating a gap between reality on the ground and what God [our customer] desires.

In a recent interview hosted by Andrew Case of the podcast Working for the Word, Chris Lim discussed “Leveraging technology for Bible translation and the Kingdom.” He said coronavirus may have disrupted a lot of things, but in a lot of ways it has accelerated the church’s mission to bear witness to the Kingdom, make disciples of all nations and reach people in every language with the gospel.

“My conviction, a conviction that has developed over the last decade, is that the primary agent in all of this is God,” Chris Lim said. “God is the one using technology to fulfill the Scriptures. The question for us as Christians is, how do we join in what God is doing? How do we follow the lead of the Holy Spirit?”


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