24 January 2009

Technology saving the church (again)

Facebook and Twitter are going to save your church. No for real - it says so on the Internet.

Maybe it is just the type of blogs that I read. Maybe it is just the things that catch my attention. But, it sure seems that there are a lot of people out there that love to embrace each new medium that comes along.

I'm not even going to get into my usual mcluhanesque comments on media both being positive and negative* but there seems to be a rush lately to be the first person to literally write the book on the latest social network and how it will be the saviour of your church.

First there was Chris Forbes and "Facebook for Pastors" that would teach pastors how to "build relationships and connect with people using the most popular social network on the Internet."
Now recently we have Anthony Coppedge and "The Reason Your Church Must Twitter" who takes an even stronger stance with "a helpful, easy and practical guide to reaching the right people with the right message." I don't want to pick on these two authors. In fact they are both really smart men, that I respect a lot of what they have to say. I haven't taken the time to see if a few years ago someone wrote how MSN Messenger would save the church. I bet the Internet was going to save the church at one point, along with the computer, the automobile, and the printed page. All those things have had huge impact on both the church and our very core of culture, but the impact was not wholly positive. I could come up with lots of things about the comptuer, cars and print itself that have negativly effected the body of Christ.

Already I feel it. Somebody is muttering "ludite" and dismissing me as a technophobe. But stop and think about it, nothing has wholesale postive effects. Yes Twitter is great, people can track what other people are saying, eating, etc.... but what about depth? What takes people to a deep level of realtionship? I can as easily ignore the "This is the worst day in my life" tweat as I can engage that person. Being that I am disembodied here at my computer the person dosen't even know that I have ingored their call for help/attention/assistance. Maybe even worse I will make the mistake of dismissing them with a "don't worry tomorrow will be better"

I think us lovers of tech have to be (more) careful to not sell the latest and greatest technology as a fix for all that ails the church. We have see more than the benifits and see all the effects.

Always more to say...but that is good for now

* technically McLuhan has four laws (or directions) but most people really are only ready to focus on the positive and negative effects.

1 comment:

Anthony said...

I love your line that says: "[we] have to be careful to not sell the latest and greatest technology as a fix for all that ails the church."

AMEN! I totally agree with that statement. On my own personal blog, I make a statement all the time: "It's not about tech; it's about people."

Twitter is a simply a logical step in the progression of personal communications. Unlike MSN Messenger (or ICQ or Forums before that or bulletin boards before that), Twitter is a practical, FREE and easy way to go beyond email as an electronic communications format.

My e-book title does include the word "must". I chose that specifically because email is being used for far more than it should be by churches (spam emails; even when I have subscribed). To alleviate the burden of email spam and to also reach people on their cell phones without a phone call is a faster, easier and practical way for churches to reach the right people with the right message.

Is Twitter going to save anyone? No. But it will save on over communicating via email and it will help reach people in short notice when time matters (prayer requests come to mind).

I promise you that the e-book doesn't promote Twitter as anything more than a very effective communications tool and don't sell it as anything other than that.

I hope you'll give the e-book a shot and post a review.