The great thing about technology and faith systems is that they both were designed to evolve and keep up with the times-at least that’s been my experience. Faith systems that don’t evolve not only minimize their reach, but they could even risk losing some of their base if they’re not careful. Technology is the same way-if you can think about how many versions of Microsoft word you’ve seen in your lifetime you can totally understand my point. We are literally witnessing in our generation, a new way of “talking spiritually” so to speak-and this new world, full of digital natives and non-natives is one that in which we all have to find a way to co-exist together. In fact, I know this is to be true, and this is why I’ve felt my personal ministry shift and expand a bit to recognize more of who I am. As a 26 year old priest, I have just as many years of experience in church as I have in the digital world (and I grew up in and around both). And the two worlds are not mutually exclusive. The same aggravations and annoyances that exist in the church world, exist in the digital world in the form of server errors, slow internet speeds, and so on and so forth-all being equally frustrating. If you’re a religious leader, and you wish to extend your reach or stabilize your base, getting a descent command of social media that matches the command you have of your belief system is definitely in your best interest.
What will you do if you cannot get any members to come to your bible study? What will you do if Sunday morning attendance is at an all time low? What will you do if you just can’t afford to pay the mortgage on your building anymore-and the members don’t have enough money to gather at a restaurant or hotel conference room? We’re not talking about substituting digital platforms for what we call “real-life” experiences, but if we can create a better relationship between the two of them, it will definitely help you in exporting your story, message, and idea to your market.
Anymeeting.com; Google Plus hangouts; facebook hangouts & groups; moddle.com; schoology; blackboard; and others have been used by educators and marketing/business professionals alike to connect with their individual communities for as long as those digital platforms have been in existence. And if you’re a leader and you’re concerned about your financial bottom line, that doesn’t make you a bad person-obviously there are “benefits” to physically meeting with your supporters. However, if you can extend your reach to more of a global presence with some of the digital platforms that I recommended earlier, your ability to reach beyond your local presence in your city could easily makeup for whatever person “A” did not give in the offering plate. Changes are happening fast, and you definitely want to always stay in the know. And if you don’t know how to keep up with emergent technology, it would be smart to connect with someone who does. Stay tuned for more reviews and updates on specific digital media platforms and more.