iPads during worship

Discussion in 'Computers & Technology' started by jawyman, Mar 10, 2011.

Should iPads/Tablets be used in worship?

Poll closed Mar 16, 2011.
  1. Yes

    40 vote(s)
  2. No

    17 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. jawyman

    jawyman Puritan Board Junior

    I was wondering what some of you pastors think about members using iPads (or other tablets) in church. I mean how should we approach the use of this technology in church/worship. My senior pastor is adamant that he would prefer me to use a Bible as opposed to reading Scripture from my iPad. I am just curious.
  2. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Using an Ipad is still better than sleeping through my sermon. :lol:
  3. jawyman

    jawyman Puritan Board Junior

  4. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

    What is the argument against using iPads?
  5. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    The Pastor at the PCA church I attended last weekend preached from an iPad. I had my Macbook Air so that I could have my reverse-interlinears open as well as my various English Bibles (he did refer to a few different translations and jumped around a lot, and so I was quite efficient ;) )
  6. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    In my humble opinion it is just a medium, like paper. Just make sure to charge it up Saturday night.
  7. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I think a pastor reading the Scripture from an iPad removes the symbolism that what I am reading is the very Word of God.

    Agree or disagree?
  8. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

  9. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    When a pastor is behind a pulpit, holds up his Bible, and begins to read it reminds the congregation that what they are reading is sacred and the Word of God. Holding up an iPad does not have the same effect.

    Am I stretching here?
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011
  10. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    If there would be a way to block all incoming internet signals I would be fine with it. But I have seen far too many people using their ipad (or other similar devices) in less than edifying ways in worship. Call me a Luddite if you must but I believe things like this cause far too many problems than they solve.

    Just thinking out loud here but I wonder if having the ability to access a myriad of resources at your fingertips (commentaries, etc...) does in some way violate the relationship between Preacher and Listener.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011
  11. Wayne

    Wayne Tempus faciendi, Domine.

    I sense the cold wind of the grammar police still here in the room. Brrr! But I see you've weathered the storm.

    The use of Ipads can be a distraction, both for the pastor and for the user(s). I would expect that your pastor anticipates mis-use by some folks who might bring Ipads to church,
    that they would be too prone to surfing the web or reading the newspaper, anything but pay attention to the sermon and participate in worship.

    That would be the crux of my reasoning anyway for arguing against. But you're in good company - I seem to remember that at one point there was a reminder issued to the
    Westminster divines not to peruse extraneous reading materials during their debates. :)
  12. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Don't you?
  13. LeeD

    LeeD Puritan Board Freshman

    I think one should also take into account the church they attend and determine if the use of an iPad during preaching would be a distraction to others sitting around you. I know I have mostly been in smaller congregations in more rural settings. I could see how me bringing some newfangled piece of technology could distract others or just be viewed as strange.
  14. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    Very good points - I make sure that my devices are all being used appropriately for worship. But I enjoy worship and listening to the Pastor preach. So my device (iPad or laptop) is wholly dedicated to understanding him better, taking notes that are instantly cross-referenced within the Bible text so that I can access them the next time I read the passage (better than taking margin notes!), etc.

    Besides, I've seen people read their Study Bible notes and the Church bulletin instead of listening to the pastor - so it's not like technology started this...
  15. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Using an electronic reading device instead of paper is the moral duty of every pastor in order to stifle global warming. ;)
  16. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    I'm distracted by the rest of my Bible during church! If the possibility of distraction were reason enough to discourage its use, we'd have to go straight to the Pastor handing out passages of the specific text being preached or do the whole overhead thing. I admit that I have, wrongfully, doubted people who are holding Ipads in church, but that is my fault, not theirs.

    The format of your Bible is certainly circumstance!
  17. Wayne

    Wayne Tempus faciendi, Domine.


    That touches on something I often do, and I wonder if others do this too? -- When the pastor reads the Scripture text for the sermon, I often will not open my Bible to read along, but will instead simply pay attention to his reading of the text. Somehow I find that I take in the substance of the text better that way. Anyone else here found that approach profitable?
  18. Scottish Lass

    Scottish Lass Puritan Board Doctor

    Yep. Or the newsletter, or whatever the kid may have done in Sunday School or whatnot. People can be disciplined enough to use tech properly in the pew or pulpit. The fact that some aren't shouldn't be a reason to set tech off-limits for all. I used to use my netbook some before Grace---she's a distraction all by herself, now! :)
  19. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    There is absolutely zero moral difference between the new technology and a book. The Word of God is the Word of God whether it's on a piece of paper or on a screen. It's true that people need guard themselves from entertainment during worship, but if you are going to nix iPads on those grounds then you better nix pens and pencils too because of all the people who doodle.
  20. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    I respectfully disagree with you brother. The fact that the Word of God is bound in book form is not what gives it it's authority. I know this isn't what you meant but essentially it's what you're saying. If you are meaning that traditionally we are all used to the Scriptures in book form, then wouldn't we be poor reformed protestants if we did things merely for the sake of tradition?

    I think the Ipad would be too distracting at this point. I say this because they are still so new that they are viewed as a "gadget" of sorts. For example, if someone in the pew had one out, I think there would be several people around that might be tempted to be focused on how the ipad works and what it can do rather than on the preaching. As for the minister using one in the pulpit, I know in our church our pulpit is set up so that from the pews you cannot see the minister's bible, notes, etc. If he had one up there, no one would see it, so in that case, no, it wouldn't bother me if he used it.

    Edit: Perhaps I posted in haste, because now going back through and reading all the posts, I see where others have made the excellent point that we will be distracted by many things, not just a new-fangled ipad. I would tend to agree with this line of thinking, so I guess I am changing my mind - ipads are indeed acceptable.
  21. Mike Southerland

    Mike Southerland Puritan Board Freshman

    In our church use of Logos Bible software is encouraged. We have tables set up in the sanctuary with power strips screwed down to each table so that we can bring laptops. I enjoy taking notes this way as I am more likely to refer back to my notes later. Handwritten notes on paper would most likely be lost. We have had some problems with some people surfing the net during church, and the pastor's response was to disable the wi-fi during the service.

    I like having 3 or 4 copies of the (software) Bible open at once so that I can easily flip between several passages he may be covering. I'm also one that really doesn't like to use highlighting in my paper Bible. But on the software version I can do all sorts of crazy markups, and I don't feel like I'm doing any permanent damage.
  22. jawyman

    jawyman Puritan Board Junior

    You are right Josh, I meant "may" and not "should."

    ---------- Post added at 02:20 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:17 PM ----------

    I guess the argument would be that a person could "wander" and surf the net as opposed to listening to the sermon. That is only one argument I suppose.
  23. EverReforming

    EverReforming Puritan Board Freshman

    There's an app for that. :)

    That's happened to me too. The pastor will read the passage that the sermon is from and then several minutes later I find that rather than listening to the sermon, I've just read the next couple of chapters of text. Though I guess I'd rather be distracted from the pastor's sermon by continuing to read further in my Bible than some of the many other distractions at our disposal.
  24. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Especially when what is being read is in the KJV which was translated especially to be read out loud.
  25. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    Disagree. The Word of God is the Word of God, whether spoken by mouth, written on a scroll, printed on a page, or displayed on a screen.
  26. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    I've find that profitable as well, particularly if I've read the text beforehand in preparation for worship.

    ---------- Post added at 02:47 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:45 PM ----------

    Paper was once "new technology" too.
  27. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    I know there is nothing inherently wrong with using an iPad or other device rather than a paper and ink Bible. But, I speak from experience as a pastor (btw, we see a lot more that goes on in the pews/seats than most would think) that they almost always become a distraction to either the user, neighbours, or both. The same goes for laptops. I have yet to see it not happen. The distraction may not be a newspaper, email, or some other thing. Rather, it could well be 'research' on a text, illustration, word, etc. referred to in the sermon. I have had folks misunderstand key points of a sermon because they had been on their own 'research' trail rather than engaging with what the sermon was actually teaching because of their use of iPad, tablet, or smart phone. This removes one of the primary reasons that churches gather: for consistent teaching to the covenant people of God.

    We had better be very careful of how disconnected we become from one another in congregations as we become more connected technologically.
  28. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    I agree with Lawrence. I think using an iPad (or smartphone) during worship is OK if it is used to read and not for research (which is not the intent of sermons - can you imagine someone coming to worship with 10 books!). I think that using a laptop is inappropriate because the keyboard clacking inevitably distracts at least others.
  29. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    As always Rev. Underwood and Rev. Greco say it better than I could ever do.
  30. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    I think we're talking about two things in this thread: the pastor's use of an iPad or the congregation's.

    I agree with you on this issue! I haven't run across this at church (probably because I sit in the front, and rbcbob and his wife are generally well behaved ;) ). But I have run across this in seminary chapel- people will be working on their homework in chapel or texting someone on their phone.

    ---------- Post added at 03:44 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:34 PM ----------

    I heard an excellent sermon from Dan Dumas in chapel a year ago on this very thing.

    SBTS – Resources – The Dangers of Being a Professional Sermon Listener
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