The church cannot hold onto a Gutenberg mentality in a Google world.
— cory hasabeard (@coryhasabeard) June 7, 2011
— Greg Martin (@uSlackr) June 7, 2011
I’m not sure what Cory had in mind when he tweeted, but here is what his tweet made me think of.
There are those in Christendom who have an aversion or a distrust of anything new. Part of this I understand. It is easy to settle into a pattern of church life and anything that upsets that pattern can be viewed as an annoyance. There is a sense in which new things should be evaluated and not automatically accepted. Some level of distrust is healthy.
But the aversion to new things can become pathological. In many congregations a change in the order of service will prompt a flurry of notes to the pastor indicating that the old order was better.
The distrust of new things leads to some curious practices. One of my favorite church curiosities is the practice of segregating worshipers into traditional and contemporary by having separate services for each group. I know that it is OK to have preferences and traditional is not better or worse than contemporary. How does this segregation enhance overall body life? How does splitting into two groups bring unity?
My point is that change is not inherently good nor bad; change must be evaluated as to its benefit in moving the church toward her goal of making disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). It does not benefit the church to hold to old paths just because they are old and familiar.
Gutenberg could not have imagined the speed with which information can be disseminated in 2011. The internet and social media are tools which can be used to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. These new tools of communication should be used by the Church to proclaim the message. So the point I take from the tweet is that the Church should be investing in developing a web presence.
I sometimes wonder what would have happened if the church had sought to work on good television programming in the 60’s and 70’s instead of decrying the “one eyed monster” or the “boob tube.” We are starting to see some well produced and well acted movies with a Christian message, what would have happened if we had started doing this 50 years ago?
The internet and social media are not going away barring major damage to our infrastructure. We, the church, need work within these systems to provide opportunity for people to hear the voice of Jesus calling them to come home.