Thursday, August 6, 2009

Some Random Thoughts on Church, Social Media and The Web

I have been reading a bunch on trends in the church relating to the use of different means of communication, especially social media. I thought I would throw them all up in one blog post.

First, we talk a lot in my classes about our own ability to share the gospel, especially our own witness. So, what does that look like in the new twitterverse of 140 characters? Check out the post on the blog Fallen and Flawed that challenged bloggers to summarize the Gospel in 10 words or less. Now such an exercise can always risk trivializing the message, but some of these folks did an amazing job.

Second, I have been saying for years that the church is always about one paradigm shift behind. In media terms, we are usually riding the back side of the wave of what is cool or "culturally relevant." It is not the church's goal is to be cool or "culturally relevant." The Gospel holds its own. But sometimes we try anyway and are unaware that we are behind. (By the way, when I say "we" here I am not referring specifically to University where we tend to be a little bit closer to the wave.) Many churches discovered PowerPoint about the time many students and business folks were getting sick of it, put up websites when blogs were taking over, put up blogs when facebook was taking over and are getting on facebook in the world of twitter.

You can't really blame churches anymore. Now it moves so fast not even corporations with giant marketing and IT departments can't keep up. Check out this article in The Guardian out of the U.K. that shows how the hippest of the hip, the 15-24 year olds are abandoning social media. (This is corroborated by some studies in the U.S. but this is more comprehensive article.) Where are they all going? No one knows yet. But likely we will figure it out about the time they leave.

It's SO over: cool cyberkids abandon social networking sites at

One last piece in the random collection. Check out this post by Paul Steinbrueck at

Why Willow Creek and Saddleback are Losing Influence While North Point and are Gaining Influence

The author asserts that giants like Willow Creek and Saddleback are losing the impact and influence over the national evangelical community and being replaced by new key players largely based on their primary communication mediums. Steinbrueck points to a shift from Willow Creek and Saddleback's focus on the spoken sermon, the written book and the attended conference to North Point and Life Church's multimedia, blogs and social networks.

Okay, that is a lot to digest. Give it a look and post some comments.



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