What does it mean to be an analog church in a digital age?
In recent decades the digital world has taken over our society at nearly every level, and the church has increasingly followed suit—often in ways we're not fully aware of. But as even the culture at large begins to reckon with the limits of a digital world, it's time for the church to take stock. Are online churches, video venues, and brighter lights truly the future? What about the digital age's effect on discipleship, community, and the Bible?
As a pastor in Silicon Valley, Jay Kim has experienced the digital church in all its splendor. In Analog Church, he grapples with the ramifications of a digital church, from our worship and experience of Christian community to the way we engage Scripture and sacrament. Could it be that in our efforts to stay relevant in our digital age, we've begun to give away the very thing that our age most desperately needs: transcendence? Could it be that the best way to reach new generations is in fact found in a more timeless path? Could it be that at its heart, the church has really been analog all along?
"Just as loving parents thoughtfully research the usage of technology and the impact it has on their children, church leaders must do the same for those Jesus entrusts us with. Too often we jump on the latest trends and whatever seems most attractive on the surface, without much thoughtful discernment. Analog Church is a wake-up call and asks us some tough, much-needed questions—whether our rush into the use of whatever new technology is available is helping or hurting people's understanding of God, worship, church, and themselves. In a digitally saturated world, where new generations are bombarded and immersed in the digital, we need to press into analog all the more. Analog Church shows us how."
"Sometimes the best books about the future involve the ones that start with a look backward. In this very important work, Jay reminds us of God's vision for the church as the plumb line for how we view and leverage technology. In making digital the servant of analog we are moving in the right direction. Reversing the two leads us to something fundamentally different than the deep journey God has called all of us to. The church was always meant to be waiting for us when everything else failed to live up to our deep longing for transcendence. This book is the map to that."
"Jay Kim is a theological wizard. His writing is sharp without being cutting, pastoral while also prophetic, disruptive but not divisive. In other words, Analog Church doesn't just make for good content; it makes for good humans who are ready to trade relevancy for transformation. I can already think of a handful of leaders I want to pass it along to in holy passive aggressiveness or, better yet, love. On my list of things to do after reading it: 'To gather when the world scatters. To slow down when the world speeds up. To commune when the world critiques.'"
"Pastors and church planters today face a bewildering variety of options and opinions about how to 'do church' in our contemporary, digital age. It's an age-old dilemma: When do our efforts to 'adapt' to a new cultural setting end up compromising what the Jesus movement has to offer the world? In this book Jay Kim offers a timely and poignant set of reflections that no ministry leader can afford to ignore."
"We are clearly sitting within a technological and digital revolution—but a revolution against what? And to where? In this book, my friend Jay Kim serves us as a true pastor, showing us that this revolution is unparalleled in its spiritual implications. After reading this book, I have a much clearer understanding of how technology has shaped the church and how we can change. With an impressive bibliography, thoughtful exegesis of Scripture, and terrific prose, Kim shows us how the digital revolution requires an analog response—and why God's church is the essential respondent."
"We're at a point in history where churches are investing considerable amounts of time and money into the digital age. Jay carefully critiques this booming movement with eyes set on a direction far less attractive and all too necessary—detaching more from digital technology and stepping back into patient communion with God and one another. Analog Church is not another call to gather the masses and burn it all down but a compelling and, I believe, prophetic invitation to reorient our values to reflect the spiritually enriching practices of generations past. Jay paints us a wonderful picture of life ahead, if we are willing to adjust, where we are faithfully connected to the digital age without being controlled by it."
"At a time when so many are despairing over the declining attendance and lack of engagement in our local churches, I cannot wait to give this book to usher in some hope! Jay Y. Kim describes how we can lean into what the church is uniquely poised to provide—transformation, community, and shared moments of wonder and awe. I closed the book grateful for a sense that, with God's help, we can do this!"
"In Analog Church, Jay Kim rings a bell. He sounds an alarm warning us of the potential dangers inherent in our increasingly disengaged digital age. But he also sounds an invitation—like a distantly familiar dinner bell—calling us back to the transcendent presence of God and the warmth of deeply rich communal life in the Kingdom. I resonate deeply with both these sentiments, and I believe you will too."
"It's a grave miscalculation for the church today to think relevance depends on the ability to keep up with the pace, gloss, and hype of our technological world. Our frenetic, fidgety age does not need a frenetic, fidgety church. Our Insta-perfect, polished age does not need a photoshopped, inauthentic church. Our tech-weary world does not need a tech-obsessed church. Jay Kim's Analog Church understands this, presenting a compelling case for the church's most radical act in today's world: not to be a trendy, shape-shifting, chameleonic copycat, but to be a transcendent Christ-centered community whose difference from the world is why it makes a difference."
"In his book Analog Church, Jay raises important questions and addresses crucial issues for the church in a digital age. Instead of continuing to adapt and acquiesce, he calls us to come out of hiding from behind our digital walls, to bridge digital divides, and to be human with one another in real time, real space, and real ways. He invites us to move beyond relevance to transcendence. And it is a welcome invitation!"
"How do you keep real people and genuine fellowship in a virtual world? Jay Kim wrestles brilliantly with the issues and realities of the march to utilize digital technologies both inside and outside the building. Analog Church is an essential resource for churches seeking to use digital technologies without falling prey to the disastrous distortions that come to thoughtless adopters."
"In our media-saturated age, what we need more than ever is not relevance so much as transcendence. In Analog Church, Jay Kim asks the right questions about our use of technology as churches, regardless of whether one lands with every conclusion, that can help us move from the digital emphasis on information to the biblical emphasis on transformation, from our preferences to others' presence, and from mere communication to the majesty of communion—together as the flesh-and-blood people of God."
"With wisdom and grace, Jay Kim urges the church to consider the ramifications of the digital age. Without noticing it, we quickly become content with efficiency over intimacy, convenience over transcendence, and results over transformation. Analog Church invites us to slow down, to breathe deeply of the human connectedness that we were designed to experience in our communal search for God. This book isn't an invitation to join a sectarian group forsaking all things modern or digital but instead illuminates a relevant, ancient pathway into the profound beauty and mystery of God. I highly recommend this book!"
"Perhaps now more than ever, the church can offer a radical alternative to a digital world. In Analog Church, Jay Kim calls us to a greater sense of self-awareness and reminds the bride that she is drastically different, beautiful, and real. Jay opens our imaginations to see a unique, gritty, personal, and embodied path—the path toward transcendence, not relevance."
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Foreword by Scot McKnight
Introduction. EDM and Grandma's Church: The Relevance of Transcendence
1. Slow and Steady: Why Go Analog?
Part 1: Worship
2. Cameras, Copycats, and Caricatures: Worship in the Digital Age
3. To Engage and to Witness: Analog Worship
Part 2: Community
4. Rebuilding Babel: Community in the Digital Age
5. A Tax Collector and a Zealot Walk into a Crossfit: Analog Community
Part 3: Scripture
6. Jackpot! Scripture in the Digital Age
7. Howtoreadabook: Analog Scripture
8. The Meal at the Center of History: Communion
Conclusion. Blinded by the Light: Where Do We Go from Here?