It’s a great joy that many churches are growing.
Some are growing rapidly. In our own congregation, starting around a year ago, we have seen substantial blessing and along with folk being saved we have had many applying for baptism and church membership – Soli Deo Gloria!
But when a church grows, as Ray Evans says in his excellent book Ready, Steady, Grow, the culture of the church inevitably begins to change. Communication within the church becomes far more complicated, not least because the number of possible conversations between larger numbers of people increases almost exponentially. There is far more room for misunderstandings, hurt feelings, etc.
With this in mind, questions concerning the management of the church by its leaders rightly come onto the agenda.
Many images of the church are used in the NT. But when it comes to the management of the church by its leaders… (to read more click here)
A much-reviewed book grabbed me recently.
It is The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment by Martin Ford*, a Silicon Valley software entrepreneur. His well-informed thesis is that any job which involves ‘routine’ can, with the astonishing advance in computer technology, be ‘learned’ by robots. They are set to become as available and as ordinary a sight as a motor car.
The idea that computers can only do what they are programmed to do is of course true at one level, but now computerised robots are programmed to learn. Things have moved on vastly since IBM’s ‘Deep Blue’ beat world champion Gary Kasparov at chess. The computer ‘Watson’ can win quizzes in which the answers are intuitive. ‘Eureqa’ has algorithms which can ‘do science’ – studying data and finding laws and equations. An artificial intelligence programme called ‘The Painting Fool’ can produce ‘original’ works of art.
Loss of jobs and Europe
So a House of Lords report from February 2015 estimated that 35% of UK jobs will fall victim to automation within 20 years. These jobs are not simply those of warehouse workers or those in service industries but the jobs of journalists, project managers, doctors, lawyers and more. Because of burgeoning technology, companies can make vast profits with far fewer staff. Whereas MacDonalds at present employs 1.8 million people worldwide, Google needs only 55,000. Robot factories have become so efficient as to undercut the lowest costs of Third World textile factory workers.
In coming months there will be much agonising over the referendum concerning whether Britain will stay in the European Union. Prime Minister Cameron is trumpeting the (debatable) concessions he has won from Brussels concerning benefits to which migrant workers might be entitled. But actually border controls and quotas might all be beside the point. Via computer technology…(to read more click here)