二○二○年三月二十八日／三月二十九日 Click here for English version
隨著科技日漸發達，資訊已成為都市人日常生活的必需品，人們對「資訊科技」（Information Technology，簡稱 IT）這詞語也不再陌生。在資訊科技的推動下，無論我們當初是否計劃這樣生活，手機上的 WhatsApp、Facebook、Instagram 等程式已不知不覺成為我們每天不斷瀏覽的溝通工具。資訊科技的力量勢如破竹地把都市人拉進一個新時代：e 世代。根據2017年一項統計，香港 700 萬多人之中，使用網際網絡的用戶已經有 600 多萬。
IT and Pastoring
Rev Pun Kin Tong
With the advancement of technology, information has become a daily necessity of modern life. We no longer find Information Technology (IT) unfamiliar. With the help of IT, whether it is how we plan to live, we browse apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis for communication. IT has drawn urban dwellers into the e-Generation. A 2017 survey found that among the population of some seven million in Hong Kong, more than six million are using the Internet.
Living in this age, the change in the means of communication also affects believers and the church/pastors. Although some may be critical about the virtual world online, its impact has clearly been felt in real life. I don't remember when I started using tools like WhatsApp to communicate with brothers and sisters who serve. I only remember the important fact that if I do not catch up with the way they live, I will be out of touch with them. In the recent pandemic, I have no alternative but brush up on my IT skills, and ‘meet’ brothers and sisters on Zoom. Shepherding calls for mutual relationship in Christ, and our relationship hinges on communication. If IT can extend (not replace) face-to-face communication, it will definitely be greatly beneficial to the effect of pastoring.
In the recent pandemic, IT has helped maintain the connection between the church and believers. Brothers and sisters receive latest news about the church through the church website and the app 北宣 Connect. The church community has been able to respond to the changing circumstances effectively.
Advanced means of communication have broken down barriers in time and location and allowed us to send and reply messages anytime, anywhere convenient for us. Communication is no longer like hide-and-seek. Video calls have also become readily available and made communication more realistic. New technology has overcome many restrictions of the older forms of communication. It brings people closer together. It also makes shepherding more flexible.
On the congregation level, modern technology gives good support for pastoring and caring. In recent years, the choirs and instrumental groups under my care have adopted the electronic registration system (used earlier by the Chinese Young Adult and Adult Sunday School), which enhances administrative efficiency as well as shepherding. The move enables pastoral staff to know more about what is happening to hundreds of brothers and sisters in the ministry. While providing attendance record, the system also sends out emails to care for brothers and sisters who have been absent multiple times, seeking from them items for intercession. The prayer items received will in turn facilitate the ministry of prayer.
In terms of hardware, IT is a neutral tool. Its effect and impact depend on how it is used. If used appropriately, it can become a channel of God's grace.