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And just like that, with a flip of the calendar it’s fall.  While the summer time temps have continued to linger, the smell of pumpkin spice is in the air…well in the coffee shops at least.

Fall provides a natural time of transition. The sunlight of the day gives way to the darkness of night much quicker.  The cry of “get your homework done” replaces the desire to want to watch TV or play video games.  The once full green trees begin to turn colors and drop their leaves. The displays in the stores changes from sun screen and beach towels to back to school and whimsical costumes, followed very quickly by wreaths, bows and Christmas trees! Fall does indeed usher in transition.

Here at UABC transition has become a way of life. It has become the norm. Consider the following things;

  • Since August 2015 our main floor and “first impression” has been completely renovated.  This renovation has provided a transition from “yesterday’s look” to “today’s new.” 
  • The Child Enrichment Center has had it’s own transition. The nursery area has been repainted and new flooring has been installed. The rooms for the older children have received all new lighting and new floors.
  • We have begun the transition of pastoral leadership. Our Sr. Pastor Search committee has been presented, affirmed and is already meeting.
  • Our personnel committee has also been hard at work in securing Pastors in the Memphis area to come and share God’s Word with us on Sunday Mornings.
  • On Wednesday evenings we transitioned our schedule in order to include more individuals and families.
  • During our Wednesday evening Bible Study time we have looked at data that represents the transition that is occurring in the community around us.

Transition has indeed become the norm.  Transition is needed. Transition is anticipated. Transition is fun. Transition is also difficult. Transition is a pattern that has been in place since the beginning of time. 

The prophets of Israel, dealing with transition on a daily bases, would find their climax in John the Baptist (see Matthew 11:11 and Luke 16:16) and their fulfillment in the transition to the One whose sandals John knew he was "not worthy to stoop down and untie" (Mark 1:7). And sinners like you and me would find love, forgiveness and redemption in the welcoming arms of the Father as he transitions us into his new creation in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:38-39).

The best transition ever is that which is found in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation (transition) has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

4 Reasons to welcome smartphone use...

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Rarely a week goes by without me receiving an email, message, or tweet from a pastor or church leader asking about church apps, social media strategies, or mobile website functionality. “Don’t leave home without it” applies more to our smartphones than it ever did to American Express. And it applies when people are headed into their weekly worship service as well.

Before I get to the specifics of the post, allow me a couple of caveats. I’m not saying people should be piddling away on their smartphones in the worship service. If you can’t have your phone out and refrain from playing games or catching up on email during a worship service, then keep it put away. The same would go for tablets. But as you will see below, these four reasons all involve using your smartphone to share or enhance what’s going on in the worship service.

  1. Using a Bible app. This may be the most basic use of a smartphone while in a worship service. While many still prefer a hard copy of God’s Word (myself included), a digital app version is quite convenient.

  2. Taking notes. Many, if not all, of the leading Bible apps allow for note taking. This is helpful if you like to keep digital records of your sermon notes. Evernote, the native Notes app, Pages, or even Word can all be used to catalog sermon notes as well. For some, digital sermon notes are actually preferred to handwritten ones simply because they can be searched and indexed so much easier.

  3. Tweeting quotes. This is the main way I use my smartphone while in a worship service. This is similar to taking notes, but you share the quote instead of keeping it to yourself. One piece of advice on this particular smartphone use: ensure that you use an app like Buffer or Hootsuite that doesn’t automatically pull up your social media feed. You’re less likely to be distracted by what’s in your Twitter feed if all you see is an input box. I only use Buffer for sending out sermon quotes for this particular reason.

  4. Online or text giving. As online giving and text giving become more prevalent, smartphone usage for them will only increase. If you’re promoting online giving or text giving during the offertory, it only makes sense that people would use their smartphones to participate in worship through giving.

Two final reminders: Pastor, when you see someone on his/her phone during worship, it’s not always a bad thing. Worshipper, if you’re on your phone during a worship service, make sure what you are doing is related to what’s going on in the service.

Do you use your smartphone during the worship service? If so, do you use it for anything else?

Posted by Jonathan Howe with 0 Comments

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