January is a time for new beginnings, when we make resolutions and improvements in our lives. For many of us, this includes a desire to deepen our faith.

We know the basics of this—the tried and true practices that are part of the life of discipleship: connect more often with a community in worship; commit to prayer more often in old and new ways; dig more deeply into Scripture; and live with more generosity of time, talent and treasure. These practices remain the core of the life of discipleship. But in the digital age, there are new tools that can help us live into these practices more fully.

Connecting with community

For too many of us, our connection with the community of the church is limited to Sunday morning. Social media allow us to connect to one another throughout the week. Members can continue the conversation about what they heard in worship, about where they see God during the week, about how their faith is growing.

Strengthening prayer life

Devotionals and prayer books work for some people, but not everyone. Another useful resource can be apps designed to guide our prayer lives. These apps can remind us of the people and situations we want to pray for, can encourage us to pray in new ways, and remind us to set time aside each day for prayer.

Reading and studying Scripture

Put the Bible in your pocket everywhere you go with a Bible app for your device. Besides allowing you easier access to Scripture, some apps have additional functions: audio Bibles, Bible-reading plans, and supplemental devotions and reflections.

Living generously

Many congregations have online giving as an option, allowing members to set up an automatic monthly contribution—a firstfruits gift that can be part of a plan of intentionally living more generously. If your congregation doesn’t yet allow for online giving, you can often set up an automatic payment through your bank. Or you can offer to help the church update its website with an online-giving option.

As we begin 2018, the ways we grow in faith haven’t changed: we worship, pray, study and give. But these tools can often help us make the most of traditional faith practices of the church. Alongside ancient practices, new tools can help us to deepen our faith.

David L. Hansen
Hansen is pastor of Spirit of Joy! Lutheran Church in The Woodlands, Texas.

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