(Black Press file image)

B.C. church asks parishioners to turn on mobile devices

Pastor Jeff Germo started his sermon by asking people to take out their phones, click on a Mentimeter link and punch in a code

It’s no sin to use a mobile device during Sunday service at the Campbell River Baptist Church.

Pastor Jeff Germo calls it a blessing when he sees parishioners in the pews staring down at their mobile device screens rather than up at him at the pulpit.

It means the congregation is engaged with the topic he’s discussing, such as a recent sermon on failure. Have you failed? Have you dealt with failure and moved on or is it holding you back?

Germo is among the first pastors in the world to use a Swedish developed communications technology, Mentimeter, to make online, real-time spiritual connections with his flock while preaching. Mentimeter, used widely in corporate board rooms and academic lecture settings, is an interactive survey tool that posts instant answers and results to the mobile devices of those connected to the event.

At the church auditorium in Campbell River, Germo started his sermon by asking parishioners to take out their smartphones and tablets, click on a Mentimeter link and punch in a code.

Moments later an email arrived asking parishioners if they had ever failed terribly.

Just two per cent replied: “No, I’m a winner.”

Germo expressed amazement that any member of the congregation said they had never experienced failure.

“If you are more than a year old, you probably would have failed at something,” said Germo as a man at the back of the auditorium of about 250 people raised his hand to acknowledge he chose the no failure answer.

“That’s beautiful. That’s delusional,” joked Germo.

But as the sermon continued, large display screens showed the majority of the survey participants replied they have experienced failure and are trying to get over it.

“When you look at the right side of the graph, most people are experiencing some difficult things and have a hard time getting over failure,” Germo said. “So, you are not alone.”

The sermon then took a more traditional direction with Germo using scripture from the Bible to discuss how Jesus helped his disciples come to terms with their own failures and help others with their lives.

“Failure is an option,” said Germo. “We have to know it is OK or growth is impossible. Jesus says I want you to learn from your failure. You can teach others.”

Germo said he discovered Mentimeter while doing a Google search on live polling and decided to try it out.

“The biggest thing it does is it helps people to engage and we’re always looking to different ways for engagement,” he said after the recent Sunday service. “We don’t just want to have a bunch of people sitting with their bums in the pew.”

Germo said the immediacy of the connection brings another spiritual element to the service through the technology.

“I think it does help get the heart engaged,” he said. “It’s actually something visceral instead of just sitting there listening to a talking head. They’re involved in the process.”

Johnny Warstrom, Mentimeter’s chief executive officer, said the platform has 25 million users in 120 countries, but few are churches. The main users are communications agencies, global corporations and universities, he said in an interview from Stockholm.

Warstrom said it is fascinating and creative that “somehow the priest connected to Mentimeter. He’s obviously a very creative person who actually dared to introduce this to a very traditional setting.”

Rebecca Palmerley said she regularly attends services at Campbell River Baptist Church and never forgets to bring her smartphone.

“I do all the polls,” she said. “It’s good to know that I’m not alone and that other people feel the same way.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Lacombe Police Service requests help finding missing person

Melissa Oswell was last seen on May 15th, after walking away from a health facility in Lacombe

Lacombe Composite High School students win gold at Skills Alberta Competition

Camryn Grant and Ben Rainforth will represent Team Alberta at Nationals in Halifax

Lacombe Police joins in on Canada Road Safety Week

1,841 motor vehicle fatalities and 9,960 serious injuries due to motor vehicle collisions in 2017

City of Lacombe council highlights – May 13, 2019

The next scheduled Regular Council Meeting is on May 27th

Social justice at the forefront at Father Lacombe Catholic School

Charity projects highlight Catholic Education Week

VIDEO: LCHS Hair Massacure supports children’s charities

Event supports kids living with cancer

Authorities warn out-of-control wildfire could cut northern Alberta town’s electricity

Alberta Transportation has closed Highway 35 south of High Level due to the fire

‘Rope-a-dope’: Environmentalists say Alberta war room threat won’t distract them

Those against Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aren’t worried about promise to fight critics of energy industry

Almost $13 million to be paid to Grande Prairie hospital subcontractors, others

No reasons for the Court of Queen’s Bench order were released

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Speed, alcohol considered factors in deadly Calgary crash: police

Two female passengers in the Corolla, aged 31 and 65, died at the scene

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

‘What’s your number?’: Advocates urge Canadians to check their blood pressure

May 17 is World Hypertension Day, marked to spread awareness on the risks of high blood pressure

National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day is May 18

Alberta RCMP participates in Canada Road Safety Week during Victoria Day long weekend

Most Read