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Digital technology and mission in the face of COVID-19 and beyond

By Vincent Anane Denteh

Digital technology has introduced new terms such as digital age, digital culture, digital space, digital media, and digital community, resulting in a new global order known as the ‘digital world.’ Those born in 1985 and on are called “digital natives”, while those born before the digital era and making effort to stay abreast of it are “digital immigrants.” What are churches and mission agencies to do with the new world of digital natives’? Do we, as Christians, ignore and avoid it or use and engage it?

Digital technology such as cell phones, digital cameras, video projectors, satellite systems, radio, the internet, and computers have not only accelerated communication; they have also recast our cultural values and societal norms in terms of how we relate to each other, how we worship in the church and how we do missions.

Digital technology also enhances collaboration and innovation in missions, and the impact is particularly obvious during the present pandemic. Responding to COVID-19 lockdowns, churches have put their programmes on television, radio, internet, and mobile phones, demonstrating the importance of digital technology in Christian ministry.

But Christians need to thoroughly understand the technological trends that are driving the developments around the world.

The Church’s Engagement with Digital Technology

Adopting paradigm shifts driven by new technology is not a new phenomenon for the church. In the medieval world, the church adopted Johannes Gutenberg’s cutting-edge technology: the printing press. This replaced books that were hand-written or labouriously printed from engraved wooden blocks. Today, we are shifting from print to electronic devices. Are we to resist or to reclaim this development as past Christians incorporated printed Bibles into the church?

Crucially, today’s digital technology is easily accessible to many people. The gospel can be communicated in real time anywhere in the world using digital technology. The onus now lies on the church to harness the digital space as a new ministry environment.

Digital technology has become indispensable in the world and, for that matter, is now a strategic medium through which the church can reach all nations and all peoples. Digital technology is closing the gap between the church and unreached people groups. The challenge is no longer to identify the location of people but rather, to identify the most relevant digital technology to use at a given time. The church must contextualise the digital world at its disposal to enhance its ministry activities.

 Biblical Perspective on Technology

Some Christians ask whether the Bible endorses the use of technology in ministry, for example, reading the Bible from electronic devices. To address this, Christians need to grasp thoroughly the meaning of technology and examine it through the lens of Scripture.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary states that technology is the “application of knowledge to the practical aims of human life includes the use of materials, tools, techniques, and resources of power to make life easier or… more productive.” Is this concept alien to the Bible? Should we reject technology as evil or harness it as part of God’s provision for humankind? From carpentry tools that Jesus would have used in his workshop to chariot technology (Ps. 20:7) and the many tools used by great craftsmen such as Bezalel and Oholiab (Ex. 31:3-6), using our knowledge to create tools and manipulate them has been with us since Cain fashioned the first hoe to till the ground.

What is important is that our sovereign God gives His people knowledge not only for personal use, but to serve the purpose of God for His creation and for His glory.

Ministry with Responsible Technology

So far, we see that digital technology is vital for ministry but the church must be proactive and responsible in how it conducts digital space ministry. Forming new and relevant missiological models and approaches is key to effective ministry in the digital space. We need a framework for how to harness digital technology for ministry in ways that glorify the Lord.

The church should study both digital technology and the culture of the digital community, in order to relevantly fashion the gospel message in an appealing manner. Humans should shape their tools for their use, but digital technology is so pervasive it appears to be shaping us. Shall it rule us, or shall we rule it?  If the church fails to dominate the digital space, it risks being overwhelmed by the ungodly acts of some people. It is when the church proactively develops a missiological framework for digital technology can the abuses associated with can be addressed.


Every Christian with access to digital technology or an electronic device should bear witness to the gospel in their digital community. There is no need to hesitate; the more we delay, the more souls will die without Christ.

Thus, we ought to see ourselves as labourers in the Lord’s vineyard, called to fulfill God’s mission mandate in our lifetime. Finally, the pace of adapting digital technologies has increased because of COVID-19, and approaches to ministry will never remain the same, even after the pandemic.

Apostle Vincent Anane Denteh serves as the Area Head of the Church of Pentecost for Sefwi Bekwai, Ghana. His background is in Journalism, Theology, and Missions. He previously served as a Missionary from Ghana to Ukraine and also Madagascar. Apostle Denteh is the author of ten books and is a prolific writer of many articles.

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