I’m still trying to figure out this Social Media and how it can apply to ministry in 2009. I think about questions like, “do I need to put on Facebook that our Organizing Committee is meeting tonight, aren’t I really wasting a lot of time in front of the screen today, what is the difference between day dreaming and blog reading.”
Then try to have a conversation with someone in their 60’s or above about Facebook or Twitter. Talking about Social Media garners a glaze in their eyes that won’t dissolve. It’s heavy—like a sugary glaze that I might expect to find at a Presbyterian Pot Luck. It prevents us from connecting and communicating across generations.
But I’ve already experienced that Facebook can work. I met a young woman in our new church before I even met her in person—which is an interesting way to meet people. She knew that I was becoming the new pastor of the Chain of Lakes church, I shared with her that she could get to know me via Facebook, I shared my Facebook page, we became Facebook friends, she came to our first meeting, she looks at me now as her pastor.
I can’t imagine this virtual pastoral relationship starting 15 years ago.
I don’t believe that Jesus would be offended at this sort of transaction. Jesus was the most innovative religious leader in the history of the world. He changed the direction of religion and that change has lasted for over 2000 years. Instead of following the law, people could follow him; instead of performing works, people could focus on loving in their heart. Jesus changed everything.
But despite Jesus’ unbelievable ability to change and innovate, the church is one of the most change resistant institutions in our world. We do have prophets who are trying to steer us ahead of our culture, but our prophets don’t have much power.
The other night I was having a conversation with a late Boomer at a basketball game. This is a man who grew up in the 1960’s; he registered as a conscientious objector; he received a low draft number; if he had been drafted he probably would have gone to Canada. But he doesn’t want to do Facebook. (And I admit I don’t know if “doing” Facebook is the way to describe the interaction. I’m still searching for language to describe what happens there.) I think of him as a man who would embrace change and innovation. “I don’t want to be known,” he declared to me over the noise of the upcoming basketball game. “I don’t want to spread my information over the Internet.”
I can understand his hesitancy. I am a bit afraid to post this morning’s blog even though I’m sure it will be read by less than 10 people.
But the Spirit prompts us to change and innovate and try new things.
Jesus didn’t have too many problems communicating his message. We in the church have a lot to learn from him.
At our Presbytery meeting this past Saturday, the Presbytery posted the written reports on the wall. A favorite man of mine complained that this wasn’t needed. “we don’t need to have the written reports projected on the wall.” I was just glad that the Presbytery was using visual projection at a meeting. For right now it’s the little things—small steps.