I am fascinated by technology and I am a huge believer that churches must begin to harness technology to speak the language of our culture, if we endeavor to reach them. A wonderful SBC professor, has once said that “if the 1950’s ever come back, the SBC is ready for it.” I think that Reid is absolutely (and unfortunately) correct. We’ve got to move beyond our grip on the past, and advance into the present. There is little reason that the church cannot lead the charge in using technology to communicate our message.
All that being said, I am constantly on the look-out for technology that will assist churches. I am also keenly aware of the struggle that small churches have with affording, and using, technology. I’m particularly watchful as of late, in order to be well prepared when I speak in March at the IMPACT 2008 Small Church Leadership Conference on the topic of “Affordable Technology and the Small Church.” Thinking about that, I am excited to introduce to you a new product that IBM recently unveiled entitled Symphony. Symphony is a free software suite that is intended to rival Microsoft’s Office package. The huge benefit, in the face of Office, is obviously that Symphony is free. Beyond that, however, it does feature a nice addition that Office does not, in that it can automatically convert documents into a PDF document, which can be particularly helpful in a church setting. Symphony features three products that can be downloaded individually. It offers Documents, which is their version of Word, Presentations, which is their version of PowerPoint and Spreadsheets, which is their answer to Excel. The opportunity to have a free presentation software, much like PowerPoint but without the cost, is obviously a boon for the smaller church.
In closing, I should add that there has been another product available for quite some time that is a free Office package entitled OpenOffice. I have used OO, however, and found it to have some glitches that I wasn’t comfortable with. While I haven’t tried Symphony yet (since I just found out about it), I am more hopeful for a smooth operation as it is being released by media giant, IBM.
If you would like to view, and/or download Symphony, you can do so by clicking here.
HT: PC Magazine