By Kevin Urichko

Dr. Kevin Urichko was born in Illinois but raised in Central Florida. He holds degrees from Boston University (B.A.) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div. & D.Min.). Kevin was a pastor with Northland Church in Longwood, Florida, for 30 years, and continues to serve through Shepherd Ministries today. He and his wife, Linda (married since 1991), enjoy ministry and teaching together. They are the grateful parents of two grown children, Kristen and Isaac. Kevin’s desire is to come alongside pastors and pastoral family members with an understanding heart, sharing the compassion and hope he has received from Jesus in his own needs and challenges. He joined the Care for Pastors team in February 2023.

    How God Redeems Technology in My Spiritual Walk

    Wednesday, May 08, 2024

    Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. Genesis 2:7 (ESV)

    Have you ever wondered if technology and smartphones are a blessing or a curse? I know that just about any resource can be used for good or evil, but so much research is emerging about the negative impact of social media on our culture, especially teens and adolescents, that I feel myself leaning toward the curse side… Yet God uses and redeems every part of this world, and a convergence of events in my life has reinforced that truth in some ways I’d like to share.

    There are several spiritual practices that I recommend to almost every pastor, family member or client with whom I work. They include a time of meditation upon Scripture (preferably in the morning when it is quiet); lifelong learning or study for personal growth; and, fellowship with other believers to share our lives and read good books, especially the Bible. While I know that the Holy Spirit is present and active in each of those environments, I had not stopped to think about how technology is providing resources that He is using in my life. Read on…

    The Spiritual Practices I Recommend

    As part of the first practice, I have been using the app Lectio365 for quite a while. One morning the mediation centered on the Scripture above and I was invited to put myself in this scene and imagine God’s closeness as He breathed into the Adam’s nostrils…  “As his [Adam’s] eyes fluttered open, what was the first thing he saw? Did the face of God fill his vision? As he focused on his Creator, what expression did he see on God’s face as he met God’s gaze for the very first time?” I spent several minutes considering what it must have been like for Adam to breathe his first breath and open his eyes to behold the Lord.

    This meditation resonated within me because of how a similar theme has been showing up in the other two practices. With a desire to keep learning and growing, I have become a follower of Dr. Curt Thompson’s podcast. He is fond of saying, “We all are born into the world looking for someone looking for us…” It hit me that this truth is woven into the fabric of every human—beginning with the first one! Dr. Thompson goes on to say, “that we remain in this mode of searching for the rest of our lives.” It’s been a long time since I was born and opened my eyes looking for someone looking back at me, but it dawned on me that God is using technology in my ongoing search…

    Could it be that a video gathering where we pretty much only see each other’s faces could make a difference? Part of my third practice involves a Zoom meeting with some men every Friday morning. While I have known a few of these friends for decades, during COVID quarantine we started meeting online and have read over a dozen books together since 2020. So many mornings, I am deeply moved and enriched by our time together, virtually, and yes – God provided another reinforcement of this theme through our current text, “How to Know a Person” by David Brooks.

    Near the beginning of the book, Brooks describes the “Illuminator” as kind a person who is present with people and offers a “gaze that is warm, respectful, and admiring… a gaze that says, ‘I want to know you and be known by you.’ It’s a gaze that positively answers the question everybody is asking themselves when they meet you: ‘Am I a person to you? Do you care about me? Am I a priority for you?” Profound thoughts in and of themselves, but God used a meditation app, a podcast, and an online study group to send me warm reminder that He is working in all things, even technology.

    As the content of these truths converged in my head and heart, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the Lord’s gaze upon Adam, you and me… and the way we get to share such a powerful gift with one another. The result is people who experience the profound feeling of being seen, known, accepted and understood. This just happens to be one of my favorite core values of the Care for Pastors organization.

    I have found the Care for Pastors team to be an incredibly sincere band of Illuminators. Counselors who are creating and cultivating communities of people who are “looking for you”—you pastors, pastoral family members, and church leaders—you who aren’t sure anyone sees you or can possibly understand the kind of struggle you’re enduring.

    So much of the work we do today is dependent upon technology. As much as I am tempted to be a skeptic and wary of it all, today I am thanking the Lord that He would use technology to reinforce how important a “gaze” can be to me, and that He would use technology to offer so many to offer you a gaze that radiates respect, kindness, and healing.

    Help us continue providing resources of care for pastors and their families.

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