Fasting from food and drink is an ancient religious practice. But this Sunday, Team Church in Matthews will ask congregants to give up entertainment technology for a week.
As in texting, tweeting, playing video games, surfing the Internet, checking Facebook, watching movies or TV, even listening to iPods or the radio.
The goal of this "DISconnect" project, the church says on its Web site, is for people to "unplug from distractions" and "REFOCUS on the things that should be the most important aspects of (their) life: God and other people."
"We think it will be painful," Pastor Kenny Hibbard told me. "But it will give them more time to read the Bible, pray, be with their kids or with friends, and get active outside. We think this can have a physical, relational and, most importantly, spiritual impact.
Team Charlotte, launched in 1999 as Charlotte South Fellowship, has a list of "Alternative Activities" on its Web site.
Besides praying and reading the Scriptures, activities on the list include: "Ask someone over for dinner or BBQ"; "Blow some bubbles"; "Bowling"; "Date Night"; "Go to bed earlier!" "Museum"; "Walk the dog."
The church -- evangelical and non-denominational -- is not asking members to get in trouble at work by refusing to, say, answer their boss' email. Job-related technological chores are not part of the fast.
But during their lunch breaks and when they get home. Hibbard said, they should abstain from the usual techno fun.
Team Charlotte, which changed its name and location on its 10th anniversary, draws between 900 to 1,000 worshipers each Sunday. Its 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services are at 2301 Stevens Mill Road in Matthews.
For more details on the church's technology fast, go to www.teamchurch.com and click on "DISconnect." But make sure you do it by Sunday if you're going on the fast -- after that, online anything is presumably off limits.