Good morning to Dean’s class at Western Seminary.
I remember sitting in my Youth Ministry course last fall and discussing the variety of ways we can be involved in the lives of students in our ministries. I mentioned email, IM and blogs. Immediately, it was met with responses like “Well, that’s not real communication…” and “Well, I don’t think that’s really the best way to minister…”
Through technologies such as email, IM and most recently the development of the “weblog” (or blog), it’s become easier and easier to stay in touch with people and be connected. The question for the church is “Will you choose to utilize these technologies for your ministry, and if so, how?” I am of the belief that these new technologies, especially blogs, are ways to create community, discussion and connectivity throughout the body of Christ. I have met hundreds of amazing people through my blog, had wonderful discussions and hosted guest bloggers, a variety of discussions, interviews and even served as a a stop on a Virtual Book Tour. I have been exposed to a variety of different viewpoints (sometimes they are very opposed to mine), and this has helped widen my own perspective. These have all been wonderful ways for me to connect and be in dialogue to others, especially those friends in ministry.
However, there are also downsides to every good thing; and while I believe that blogging and other forms of communication on the Internet are perfectly legitimate, they do fall short of real, genuine, face-to-face communication with another human. I have, more than once, experienced some fairly huge miscommunications over IM or my blog – something that could have easily been avoided in face-to-face communication.
Blogging has been a tremendous gift to me and a way for me to nurture relationships, create relationships and remain connected to a far-greater international community that I would not be able to otherwise. The medium of communication should be utilized by individuals and churches to present another possible outlet for fellowship and communication – but it should never take the place of actual, physical, human contact.
Thanks for reading some of these thoughts.