This month, I am continuing my article series on important elements of Lutheran theology and history with a topic you might not expect--technology. Technology may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Lutherans over the centuries, but it has been important since the very beginning.
For most practical purposes, the Protestant Reformation began on October 31, 1517 when the pastor and university professor Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. As dramatic as that scene sounds, church doors functioned as community bulletin boards since most people worshiped on a daily basis. But the printing press turned Luther’s simple, ordinary action into a landmark event for the history books. Developed and refined by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-1400s, the printing press helped Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses reach many more people in Germany and throughout Europe. And transformed a local academic dispute into a broader conflict that would forever change the church. The power of technology to share ideas was clear, and the sun was rising on technology’s power to share the gospel--the good news of Jesus Christ crucified and risen.
Ten years ago, as I was beginning my seminary studies, I wondered what use God could possibly have for all the crazy math classes and all obscure computer programming knowledge I picked up in college. But then I remembered the story of Luther and the printing press. I remembered that technology could be used to share the gospel just as it is used to share so many other ideas (for better or for worse). I realized that God could use all that random technological experience for something after all!
From that time on, I have constantly been on the lookout for ways that technology can help the church share the message of Jesus. This is always a bit of a balancing act, as it is all too easy to technologize everything and let the tool (technology) overshadow the goal (spreading the gospel). Thankfully, God’s Welcome, Nurture, Serve mission for us helps us to discover how technology can be deployed in service to our Lord Jesus. Technology helps us WELCOME guests and new friends through our website and Facebook page. Technology helps us NURTURE people in faith through the sermon podcast and downloadable class materials. And technology helps us SERVE our neighbors by giving us ways to partner with others in our community to respond to important issues and challenges.
These are just a few thoughts about how Trinity is continuing the Lutheran heritage of technology in service of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you have other ideas about how technology could help further God’s mission for us, please let me know!
Pastor Micah Garnett has been our Pastor since July 2016. He grew up in York, PA and graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 2011. He enjoys worship, working with social services in Fulton County, writing hymns, and cycling.