Modern evangelical churches are often criticized for their crass modernity and use of high-tech to broadcast their message. In an effort to attract younger patrons, many have replaced classic hymns with modern-rock anthems with pro-Christian lyrics. Well-groomed preachers are documented in trade magazines devoted to "worship technologies," often flanked by large projection screens, their hardback Bibles replaced with a slimmed-down iPad.
One Swedish church, Livets Ord, or "Word of Life," is taking technological know-how to a next level.
"Packed out church tonight as I got to reveal our brand new mission project," reads the caption of an Instagram post from the church’s pastor, Joakim Lundqvist.
"@livestord will start using military drones, three meters wide, to drop thousands of electronic Bibles over closed areas in the Middle East. Let’s pray the message of God’s love in Christ will conquer that of darkness and hate!"
The Bibles will be “pillbox”-size and battery-powered. They will be dropped by a private contractor that, presumably, has clearance to operate in Syrian airspace.
Critics have pointed out that using military drones doesn’t exactly send a welcoming message. For those on the ground, being unable to differentiate the Bible from a Hellfire missile doesn’t bode well for a successful promotional pitch.
But Christian Akerhielm, Livets Ord’s mission director, defends the strategy, telling the Washington Post that it’s "closer to traditional smuggling of Bibles, and it is not connected to any military or aggressive action in any way."
The church also argues that the airdrop will be conducted in coordination with its efforts to provide medical care to refugee camps in the region.
If the Livets Ord plan is successful, it will beat Amazon to be first-to-market in drone delivery.