Ministry in the digital age

Going online and finding information about a church or interesting ministry near where you live is as easy as picking up a cheeseburger at the drive-thru. This is not only reflective of the growth of the Internet but how competition and a consumer mentality is so ingrained in our culture whether it’s shopping for a new car or a new church.

A Los Angeles Times article profiles a pastors conference discussing similar issues of how to best use technology to engage the vast swath of people who generally shrug their shoulders about faith and go on with their day. Attracting and keeping new members is hardly a novel concept for churches – or non-profits and volunteer organizations for that matter. A description of the conference includes a visual image of a lecturer speaking with a Twitter feed behind him of things being posted about the conference while it is going on.

This is cool stuff, the idea of having multi-level conversations of what you’re watching and seeing as it happens.

However, there is always another side to the story and one that should give us pause. A comment on the story had the following to say: “Most of prayer is listening, not telling God what material thing you want next. I come from a church culture which is fairly simple and profoundly quiet; it truly is calming and restorative…in fact, even healings occur! Do we really need more entertainment?”

It’s a good question to which I wouldn’t pretend to have a spectacular answer to. Prayer, and how you engage in your faith, can be deeply personal. But does that necessarily mean that the constant use of technology trumps the ability to make spiritual connections?

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