O’FALLON, MO. â€” The spotlight shone on the Rev. Mike Schreiner on Sunday as he preached about who goes to heaven and how earthly relationships will translate in the hereafter.
Off to Schreiner’s right, the steady glow of dozens of cell phones lit up the section where the teens of Morning Star Church sat listening to the sermon, thumbs furiously working little keyboards.
High above the 700-seat sanctuary, Amie Haskins, 27, the director of worship, sat in the church’s control booth receiving their text messages on the church’s cell phone. She screened out some (most were about whether pets would be in heaven â€” a point she knew Schreiner would be addressing later in the sermon), and typed others into a computer that was connected to Schreiner’s laptop next to him. During Schreiner’s 30-minute sermon, Haskins received 35 questions.
Schreiner answered just three of them, but the church’s embrace of texting â€” this was the third week of its experiment â€” has already improved the dialogue, according to Schreiner, and energized many of Morning Star’s younger members.
“I love it,” said 14-year-old Kailey Elfstrum, who had her text all ready to go even before Schreiner’s sermon began. “You get to ask the pastor anything you want while he’s talking.”