Purpose-Driven Cell Phones Join Church-Tech Boom

( [email protected] ) Apr 06, 2006 10:00 PM EDT

In an unprecedented partnership with Proteus, Inc., a leading creator and developer of mobile content, bestselling megachurch author Rick Warren is launching a new purpose-driven movement in April, tapping into the mobile side of technology - wireless phones.

Following Warren¡¦s largely successfully book that helped readers worldwide see and understand God's purposes for putting them on Earth, the new purpose project will help subscribers walk "40 Days of Purpose Mobile" right from their mobile phone with special voice messages recorded by the founding pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life.

"Today's society is busier than ever, making it difficult for individuals to stay in touch with the things that matter to them," said Guy Vidra, Vice President of Business Development at Proteus, in a released statement. "We recognize how the mobile channel can help bridge this gap and have teamed up with the Purpose Driven Life to give people another way to connect to their faith."

The new partnership comes as Scripture is making a more personal and modern outreach to keep believers connected to their faith through technology, and as congregations are increasingly ¡§plugged in¡¨ when it comes to media-savvy ministry.

According to studies of Protestant churches by the Phoenix-based Ellison Research firm and the Barna Group of Ventura, Calif., between 47 percent and 57 percent of Protestant churches have their own Web sites; more than six out of ten Protestant churches use large-screen projection systems to highlight their weekly announcements, song lyrics and sermon presentations; sixty-one percent of congregations incorporate video clips into their worship services; and one-fifth of churches e-mail their newsletter to church members, though only 4 percent offer an online member directory.

"Technology's a wonderful thing,¡¨ the Rev. Robert Kang of the Church In Bethesda told News4 last month. ¡§It helps us to communicate better. It helps us in all different facets of life. And why not use technology to help people experience spirituality in different ways as well?"

The Purpose Driven Life Mobile Store (pdlmobilestore.com), which was launched earlier this year at the end of January, provides opportunities for people to stay in touch with their faith wherever they are. The mobile storefront offers graphic wallpapers in a series called "Verse to Remember" along with daily devotionals which are text messaged to users every weekday.

¡§Expediency has always been at the core of technological innovations,¡¨ noted Rebecca Barnes, editor of Church Central in a report about technology and the Church, "and those impacting churches and Christians are no different."

Christian Post Reporter Joseph Alvarez in Washington contributed to this story.