It’s Back to the Future Day. It’s fun. Of all the predictions of what 2015 would look like from the vantage point of the 80’s, the things which are strangely accurate are interesting. Yet it’s still massively disappointing that cars can’t fly and I don’t own a hover board. Let’s get moving, scientists and engineers!

The subject got me thinking. What do churches have now that they didn’t have in 1985? How far have we come (or regressed)?

Here are seven things I could think of off the top of my head:

1- Projectors

"OHP-sch" by mailer_diablo - Self-taken (Unmodified). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:OHP-sch.JPG#/media/File:OHP-sch.JPG

“OHP-sch” by mailer_diablo – Self-taken (Unmodified). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Now, this is a bit unfair. Churches in the 80’s did have projectors… overhead projectors. Does anyone remember that? Some poor soul had to sit up front and swap transparencies over that hot light. The people with bad eyesight were out-of-luck as everyone was squinting to read the lyrics to verse four. Of course, most churches were sticking to hymnals-only in 1985–perhaps a “praise chorus” printed in the bulletin.

2- Veggie Tales

Poor kids in the 80’s didn’t get to watch Bob and Larry. Kids in 1985 didn’t even get McGee and Me. No, in 1985, the kids were stuck with Psalty the Singing Songbook. Don’t get me wrong, I love this Barnie-like, Jesus-lovin’ walking tome as much as the next guy. I’m just glad there’s a little more variety these days.

3- Metrosexual Worship Leaders

Unnecessary scarves didn’t make their way into churches until this millennium. I’d say this is a regression as a culture. There’s just something about a suit and tie wearing, mustachioed music pastor holding a microphone in one hand and directing a choir with the other that I just miss. Plus I miss those Luke Skywalker haircuts that were well-coiffed but long enough to show they had at least a few Petra cassettes hidden away somewhere.

4- The internet

People used to have to look up churches in the phone book… and call… during business hours. If you had a question, you’d have to ask a person or show up in-person to get a pamphlet. I am really glad we have the internet now, but I miss that personal interaction.

5- Gluten-free Communion

Now you might think this is a joke. It is not, I assure you. The number of people requesting gluten-free or allergen-free communion is skyrocketing. In 1985, no one had heard of gluten. In 2015, we’re all going to die from gluten. How did we ever survive all of those bite-sized pieces of bread for so many decades? I’m sorry if you’ve got Celiac’s or an allergy, truly. You’d be shocked by the number of folks without a genuine condition who simply “prefer” a gluten-free option!

6- The Bible app

Ah, the good old days when you had to open up the zipper on your Bible cover so you could be ready for the “sword drill” in Sunday School. Of course, lots of folks still bring a paper Bible to church. Lots don’t. *Sigh* Gutenberg would be so sad that printed pages went out of style so quickly.

7- Moving lights

Now, moving lights as a cultural phenomenon came on the scene with Regis Philbin and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” Remember this? It was enthralling. Regis would ask the contestant if they were ready for the next question and those fancy moving lights around the studio would aim down as the dramatic music rang out. Who knew just a few short years later, churches could use the same effect when going from one song to another? In 1985, most churches had two lighting options: on or off.

Okay, so that’s seven things churches didn’t have in 1985. I wanted to get to a good round ten but I ran out of steam. That’s me being honest.

Help me out, what three things am I missing?