I’ve been reflecting on the next wave of internetness: “the Internet of things.” This is that ability for our toasters and cars and devices to talk to each other in real time: and affecting our physical world! Intro in Part 1.
So a practical question is:
What does the church look like with the Internet of things “built in”?
If any appliance or person can carry a sensor and we’ve written sophisticated apps to automate our “church management life,” what’s different than today?
Some starting ideas:
So let’s imagine: Since you’ve okayed The City on your iPhone 7 to know where you are, it recognizes when you’re five minutes out, not only displaying the order of Sunday worship on your phone, but showing you where your small group is sitting.
Actually, the system has noticed that a larger-than-usual number of members with kids are inbound and has texted the children’s ministry director that they’ll need the backup care workers after all.
And while the HVAC turns down the temperature a bit to compensate for the anticipated number of people in the 9:45am, the coffee maker starts an extra airpot on extra strong.
But of course, most of us would agree that the Church is really the community of people, not a building. My church doesn’t even own a building—we have many of our gatherings in homes and neighborhoods. So I think: “what does the automated, physical “Internet of things” look like with the Church—us?
Well, we know there is something special about relationships and “unplanned interactions.” So what about location sensors which organize a little bit of nudged serendipity? Say, at the mall letting us know that our church friend is shopping in the next store.
Or: our church community often borrows resources: cars, lawn tools. What if we truly had a “shared lawn mower” that alerted us when it was available so that others in the neighborhood could use it? (Acts 2:44 kinda stuff).
I’m just getting going! Help me out. There has to be more ideas than I can count here…