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Martin Davis Martin Davis
Martin Davis has over 20 years' experience working with congregations in the areas of communications, social media, and publications (both online and print).

The Opportunity Before

September 10, 2014

It's been a busy week in the world of bigger and better communications. Over at Apple, they announced the coming of Apple Watch, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus. Not to be outdone (and frequently these days, setting the pace that Apple follows), Samsung is releasing its own watch and a new smart phone.

At the same time, I was approached about a fascinating (and quickly growing) social media product in the world of health care that is looking to expand its services to faith groups. They were seeking my advice and insights for reaching out. They've tried to reach this group in the past, without success. The reason? They have large for-profit companies, large and mid-size nonprofits, and many others who appreciate what they have and are ready to move.

Meanwhile, congregations they approach want to "build consensus" or "move gradually" into this new world. And the company is moving ahead in other areas without them.

For more than 15 years, congregations have been slow to adopt new technology, whether it be web, social media, or smart technologies. The reasons range broadly-believe they don't need it, fear members won't accept it, think it is all a fad, concern that these devices move people away from spiritual issues-but the bottom line is always the same. A wait-and-see attitude that means they are consistently far behind the technology curve.

And the technology world isn't waiting for us.

In a world where the survival of congregations is very much in question, this hesitancy is costing you more than new members. It's ensuring your move into obsolescence.

The debate over should we move forward with technology or not is over. There is no debate. It's simply the way that the world works today. A simple look at the areas where Christian communities are growing is all the evidence one needs. Rachael Held Evans, Darkwood Brew, Hillsong (and a recent New York Times article about it), Carol Howard Merritt, the list can go on and on and on.

There is an opportunity before you: relevance. Not growth, necessarily, nor tons of money. But simple relevance.

Apple, Samsung, and others aren't resting on today's releases-they're already thinking about what's new and next.

The real question is, are you? Don't think technology providers, and those who use their products, are willing to wait any longer for you to come around.


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