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Parishioners asked to challenge sermons via text

Tue 29 Mar 2016
By Marcus Jones

A Church of Scotland minister is inviting his congregation to challenge what he's saying via text during his sermons.

Revd Tony Stephen of Banchory West Church in Aberdeenshire set up an anonymous text number for people to ask questions.

He says rather than being a hindrance during services, mobiles can help the congregation to grow and flourish.

 

In an interview broadcast on BBC1's The One Show, he said: "We actually encourage people to keep their phones on in church.

"We want people to ask questions so we have a dedicated anonymous text number that is used to challenge me during the sermon.

"Many people have the Bible on their phone and we installed wifi in the church so that people can stay connected and share what's going on.

"We want them to be engaged and I think that's why people respond so well and we continue to grow."

Mr Stephen was approached by producers after seeing his church buck the nationwide trend of decline in numbers.

He says while filming, the crew saw for themselves a queue of people waiting to come in.

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