According to a recent BBC report, social media culture is significantly transforming the church experience. Today, in this incredibly digitized world, more and more Christian millennials are turning to apps and memes as a way to “express their faith.”
Traditionally speaking, our prayer books have always gone hand in hand with our worship experience. As we all know however, times are changing. Things were so different in fact, that just nine years ago, Reverend Pete Phillips the director of CODEC– a research center for digital theology , was asked to leave his Durham Cathedral for using his mobile phone “I was a bit miffed about that, but that was 2008.”
These days, there are countless prayer-based apps are on the rise. These mobile apps extend across all religions and are extremely popular. There is even an increasing amount of development in apps for the Torah and even the Quran.
For Christianity, a hugely popular app, named YouVersion according to the BBC report has “been installed more than 260 million times worldwide since its launch in 2008.”
According to the company “people have spent more than 235 billion minutes using the app and have highlighted 636 million Bible verses.”
This way of reading the bible is having a surprisingly positive impact on people’s perception of Christianity, especially for young people. It encourages a more “personalized religious experience.”
The mobile app experience also encourages those who have never stepped foot in church, to join the experience. This is certainly happening, resulting in Christian practice being “buoyed by the spread of social media and the decentralization of religious activity”
This approach is particularly popular among the youth. Millennials are finding that this style of prayer is in fact helping them connect to it more. Praying on app, in a sense seems far more accessible.
Heidi Campbell, a student in religion and digital culture at Texas A&M University describes how her church experience as significantly better, with its incorporation of technology.
“The internet and social media help people to do it in more concrete ways,” says Campbell. “We have more access to more information, more viewpoints, and we can create a spiritual rhythm and path that’s more personalized.” Says Campbell.
Social media also hugely comes into play. These platforms allow verses, sermons, thoughts and opinions to shared and discussed.
“Sharing Bible verses on social media lets worshipers find their own readings” The introduction of social media in religion seems to not only facilitate a new form of prayer, but also creates a platform for increased dialogue and discourse.
When it comes down to it, it is interesting to witness the adaptability of Christianity throughout the ages. No matter what, the spirit of the Lord will forever flow through humanity, touching souls with its glowing and warm light.