John sent me this article last week talking about the "outsourced brain." We live in the information world - anything and everything is accessible within seconds. What used to take weeks, months or even years to research and investigate to the fullest potential can now be located with a click of the mouse. Isn't technology amazing?
But stop and think about it. My grandparents and even my parents didn't have the internet. They actually had to learn about something and that information was usually retained forever. During my lifetime we began to know about all kinds of things. But that is totally different from understanding.
While information is more prevalent than at any time in history, people are actually less knowledgeable than ever before. We are actually training our kids to gather as much information as possible, use it in the moment and then cast it into the "recycle bin." Why learn about something when you can just look it up again anytime you feel like it?
Let's not be confused about the difference between knowing and understanding. This is especially true regarding the church today. Many people are searching for God and are turning to the local church. This is an incredibly important responsibility. We have two options: we can feed them a bunch of "information" in the moment (which will be forgotten within a few days) and teach at them, OR we can help them understand and experience an awesome and loving God. Too many churches are still preaching at people instead of leading them into a life-changing experience that will last forever.
The local church is in danger if we choose to facilitate knowledge instead of understanding. We can certainly leverage technology to help in understanding, but when it becomes our only device we'll end up losing focus and inevitably cheapen the Gospel.
The old adage that "knowledge is king" is only partially true - without understanding we'll end up forgoing information before we even have a chance to lose it.