I read an article in The Banner by Quentin Schultze, “Connected or Cut Off?” Professor Schultze talks about how media often starts out as a communal activity but evolves into something done alone -- from reading to television. Do you think that applies to the church’s use of media as well? When we use media -- Facebook, our websites, Twitter, online sermons or services -- our goal is to connect with our members and the world, but will it (or has it) actually become something that cuts us off from each other?
Just as we used to watch movies together in a movie theater but now can sit at home, stream them onto a device and watch them on our own, do you think that will happen to our church services? Someday, will we sit at home, watch our services on a device, and be only “virtually” together?
Actually, that’s happening today. There are “Facebook churches” whose members meet only through Facebook, and of course there have been worship services on t.v. for many years already. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Should we stop using media for fear of sliding in the direction of being what Schultze calls “media rich and relationally poor?”
Like everything else, media can be used for good and bad. And like most things, there’s always a flip side. We provide streaming videos of our service so those who are shut-in can be connected. The flip side is it makes it easy for anyone to stay home and participate virtually, rather than being a part of the living community meeting together at church.
In his article, Schultze says:
“God made us social creatures with strong desires to share our lives with friends and family. Yet we have to use new media intentionally for our shared lives or we might discover that we are becoming media rich and relationally poor.”
This is true for the church, too. We need to be intentional about the way we use technology. What do you think that looks like?