How to help older saints use technology (and maybe learn a thing or two while we’re at it.)

I wrote this just after I got off the phone with my (delightful, Godly, wise, mature) grandmother, for the 4th time in one day about a simple phone question. She wanted to film and send a video on her phone to someone. She had worked out how to film it, but couldn’t work out where it had ended up and how to send it. I had walked her through a few options and given her time to go try it out, but on the last phone call, she had decided that she was just going to send some photos instead.

Most days I am tempted to feel frustrated and impatient, and it’s easy to give in. And I have become convinced that we are called to honour and respect and cherish the older saints in our church. Instead of getting frustrated and impatient, imagine if we could get to the point of enjoying and delighting in these moments.

As we return to technology-heavy lockdown, and even just as we continue to rely on technology to make our week-to-week ministries happen, older saints will continue to struggle to stay connected. If you have turned your church newsletter into an e-newsletter, you will know the struggle of getting it to the person that doesn’t do email. If you’ve got a rostering system that relies on members being sent invitations that they need to accept on Elvanto, you might be tempted to roster people with little digital literacy on less regularly, or get that creeping feeling of bitterness and frustration - knowing you’re going to have to manually ask them to double check they know they are on. Or maybe (like me) it’s the family member that calls you every few days who needs help sending a photo on their phone, and you’ve already shown them three times.

Maybe you’re groaning a bit at how much you see yourself there. But what I want to share today is why we need to do better and what we can do when it comes to the older brothers and sisters, who are the spiritual grandparents of our Churches.