My ministry as Circuit Rider for The Beatitudes Society just keeps getting better and better! A couple of nights ago I spent the evening with a room full of folks how this brave new social networked era is impacting ministry and how ministry might impact a wired culture.
After a scrumptious dinner in the MTSO dining hall forty or so faith leaders wandered down to the classroom where I was completing my final tech-checks before our seminar. In the crowd trickling in from the misty evening were seminary students and faculty from MTSO, a few students visiting from Trinity Lutheran and a wide range of local faith leaders from about the Columbus, Ohio region. Senior pastors, associate pastors, youth leaders, administrative assistant or two and even a technology specialist from The Vineyard. The folks represented just as diverse levels of experience and comfort with this whole “social media things”.
And so we began –”¨”¨At dinner I had asked participants to share a “status update” with their table-mates and to try and recall one or two that they “liked”. When we were all settled in people shared about their neighbors – some graduating from seminary others who had driven quite a distance to be here.
As we settled in I read from Life Together by Dietrich Bonheoffer. Believe it or not, this slim volume informs a great deal of how I understand and engage social media.
We dove right in to concepts of how social media is extending Christian community to millions of people in new ways – sometimes exciting, sometimes frightening and limited. Social media has changed the way generations of people communicate, having specific effects on the way the church will connect with people in their own congregations, just outside their doors and around the globe. But more than impacting just our modes of communication, online social communities are also changing the way we see institutions in society. Some even believe these light-speed changes are deeply impacting our ecclesiology and our theology.”¨”¨After a bit of conversation introducing these topics we watched the first version the following short video (embeded here is version two since these statistics change every day) –
It is my hope to extend this conversation outside the classroom, to the online world I encourage you to watch with your church lens on. Every time you see the word brand, information, media, or business try substituting church, denomination, or message. I implore you – resist the tendency to say “well the church is different” or “this is not the way it should be” because the times, they are a changin’ more rapidly than we can even comprehend and the question is out there – what is the role of church in this YouTube, Facebook, Twitter culture?
_ What do you think? _