Thursday, January 10, 2013
The Technology "Connection"
These days, the founder and lead pastor of the nondenominational Relevant Church in Ybor City is never without his trio of high-tech toys: a Mac laptop, an iPad and an iPhone. He is accustomed to the constant chirping of incoming tweets and text alerts. If any one of his virtual connections were to shut down, "I'd be totally lost," he says. "I'm too dependent now to be able to function without it."
More church leaders are starting to think like Wirth. And not just for their personal lives. Technology is becoming an important — even necessary — tool to attract and keep members, to evangelize to outsiders and to spread a Christian viewpoint locally and globally.Interesting that - I have talked before about the need for relationships and how on line is no replacement, I want to focus instead on one key word in that quote "non-denominational."
The piece chronicles the use of social media by any number of independent, entrepreneurial pastors that are trying to start or maintain a church. I can see the necessity of social media in such a circumstance, but I also see problems. Independent churches tend to be personality driven to begin with, and social media can, I think, only make that worse. Some might argue that such is not bad, after all, Christ was a personality. Fair enough, but we are not Christ.
The church institutionalized in order to compensate for the fact that we are not Christ - the institutions serve, if done properly, to check our tendency for sin. Of course, being composed on sinners, institutions are most capable of sin, but absent institutions, what is the check?
Does social media check this problem? I think not, relationship light is hardly a check on bad behavior. Is there a role for social media in the church? Absolutely, but it is adjunct, not replacement - it is helpful, but not necessary.
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