Lecture explores technology in religon

Samantha Marinelli

A steady decline in the number of Christians who go to church doesn’t mean Christianity is dying but that church members want a personal connection they aren’t finding in church, said the keynote speaker at an Oct. 14 technology summit at the University. 

Technology can provide that personal connection, according to Steve Hewitt, editor-in-chief of Christian Computing Magazine since 1989.

He outlined ways that churches should be communicating with members—broadcast text messages, broadcast voice messages, Facebook and websites, YouTube and email and even personally addressed and handwritten mail.

He gave the keynote at “Technology Summit II: Technology in Parish Life” hosted by the School of Business’s Center for Church Management and Business Ethics. The second such summit to be held at the Catholic university was open to parish management professionals from across the United States.

The day’s agenda included two rounds of breakout sessions covering topics such as social media, church analytics, technology in youth ministry and mobile church apps, and a panel discussion titled “What I Wish I Had Known” about technology.

Hewitt’s speech was titled, “What’s New in Technology and Why Everything Is About to Change.” He explored trends in technology over the years and what that means for the future.

He is the founder of Christian Digital Publishers, which publishes Christian Computing Magazine and The American Church Magazine, which he heads as founding editor-in-chief. He also started Christian Media Magazine. 

He was a pastor for more than 20 years before he left to pursue magazine work full time.

He talked about today’s big players in the technology industry, their pros and cons, why they are failing—if that is the case, and what to expect from them in the future.

“Microsoft is dying,” Hewitt said. He joked about the sigh of distress he let out when he heard that Skype was bought by Microsoft, indicating he thinks it is destined to fail. 

Google is on the rise, buying out several large companies in the last year—from home automation products to humanoid robots to traffic detection software.

It is the first to experiment with what Hewitt called “visual interface computing”— known as Google Glass. The interactive computer looks like a pair of glasses, projects a display in front of the wearer’s eyes and operates with voice-activated commands. He noted contact lenses are being developed that could work the same way—for up to five hours.

NeuroSky is one of many companies developing the technology, which is similar to Google Glass but doesn’t use voice commands—the mind controls it. 

Being able to have any amount of information at our fingertips would diminish the need for education, Hewitt said, and would change everything in society as we know it. 

He expects this technology to be widely available within the next eight to 10 years.