If you have an iPhone, smart phone, blog, twitter and Facebook is old news then you are surely in a different culture than most churches. It is a fact that 25% of churches do not even have websites and the ones that do simply use it as a flyer rather than a Web 2.0 tool to integrate and expand the relationships inside and outside their church.
One common thing I hear is how “unreal” the virtual networks are. I disagree. How unreal is a million dollar transaction of stocks being traded? How unreal is a note asking for prayer and having it responded to in email form? How unreal is it that someone reads your thoughts on a screen and is inspired to comment on your blog? These are real, personal interactions. Even money is personal, right?
No one says that it is unreal to read a book from an author that is dead to learn and gain inspiration. Yet, those behind the curve shy away from saying that reading a blog might actually impact someone. Imagine interacting with the author and his actual social network Debate him or her. Letters of old were precious and saved. Now, I actually see some, not all, of this being a good thing like letters written in the 18th or 19th century. We actually are journaling our thoughts and ideas and are accountable to them. Imagine that.
In todays age, we can be like the fundamentalists of the last century and build a bunker or like many evangelicals and wall in a Christian sub-cultured ghetto. What I think is that we need to be indigenous to our day and leave those behind who choose to wallow in the old fashioned ways before IM and email to embrace the technology as a cultural medium that is nothing less significant than the Gutenberg printing press. I can peruse 10 translations online. Try that with your favorite study Bible.
One thing that seems true is that there is a technological divide and that sometimes is generational but more often than not it is the mindset of valuing a Christian subculture over reaching people outside that subculture. Hudson Taylor today would use a computer, just like missionaries who translate the Bible use one today. Why are we afraid of IM? Why are we shying from using electronic giving or any other tool that would allow us to expand our relationships?
My wife and I were very impressed at a local Christian school presentation where that school is using a digital reader by Sony as a medium to read the classics. The school library is going to be a USB cable hooked up to a computer. This excites me and is a model for how we in the church leadership circles need to be thinking. Things are changing and always will be. It is no longer safe to do what we have always done. In fact, it is lethal.
I challenge the idea that relationships in the blogging form are not real. So, if you read my blog and perhaps have been lurking, give me a shout out and prove the critics false in saying this form is not helpful, inspiring and at least part of where the future is heading. Has your ministry and life been impacted?