Connecting With technology
‘Technology is so much a part of our cultural experience that it’s not optional for a church reaching emerging generation’. (P141)
Stetzer refers to a couple of churches that, in his mind, use technology to good effect in their services. One is www.cornerstone-sf.org who, apparently, like to project stained glass images on to surfaces where there are none. Listen, if you want to save a few quid I know a few boys in the YNT who will do you a favour free of charge (Young Niddrie Team – a delightful bunch of hooded young men and women who will take your car/bike//TV/DVD Player for a free spin late at night. It is an invaluable service offered here on the estate. They also specialise in removing and inspecting drainpipes for any faults. Their real penchant, however, is a combination of demolition and ‘resprays’. Such is their expertise they are able to effortlessly break anything: cars, doors, windows, wall, fences and I can, from personal experience, recommend their innate ability to project missiles onto glass windows with unerring accuracy.
I can ask them to come and sledge hammer any walls you want (without the bother of pesky health and safety regulations) and we can get some of the neighbourhood children to come and shine laser pens in your eyes through the holes! More tear stained worship that stained glass but hey, it’s all about contextualisation, right?
AT NCC I’m happy, no delirious, if I can get the projector and maybe one mike to actually work. When the miraculous sometimes does occur (we’re not complete cessationists) and the light goes to green, the ‘oohs’ & aahs’of those present can be heard for miles away. In fact, there have been reported cases of people showing up at services, drawn by the noise of our wonder and awe. They didn’t stay, apparently, because the heating wasn’t working that week.
I understand that some churches in the USA now have full -time ‘Cyber Ministers’. Come on, you’ve got to love that! Cyber Ministry! I am signing up right now. That sounds way cooler than plain old pastor. I can imagine it now at the next ‘How painfully hip is your church plant’ conference:
‘Hi, what do you do?’
‘Well, I hate to brag, but I’m a cyber Minister. What about you?’
‘Me? I’m just a plain old pastor’.
(Sympathetic, almost pitying pat on the shoulder) Don’t worry mate. There’s still a little place for you guys in the world.’
‘Aww, thanks man. Good luck Cyber Minister.’
Personally, I am a techno idiot and I am crushed to think that I will never have a plaque outside my door with the words ‘Mez McConnell – Cyber Minister’ in beautiful typeface. Unfortunately, talking to me about ‘cyber stuff’ is like taking your Mac Book to the zoo, smearing it in crushed banana and sliding it through the monkey bars. What follows can only be described as a mixture of curiosity, excitement, puzzlement, grunting, licking and banging on keys with no real clue as to what is going on. However, I am in agreement with Stetzer about the whole multi media thing (Cyber Minister aside – still, I can’t get over how cool that title is!). I look at some of the church websites online, particularly in the USA and I admit to fleeting feelings of coveting my neighbours ‘webpage’. We do our best with ours. We don’t have a full-time person doing it and so we just patch it up as best we can. I think we need to spend real money on it because we do have quite a following ‘out there’ and many people email me or tell me that they are still waiting for the next session on Hebrews or whatever series we are teaching. Even guys on the estate who never come to a service sometimes listen in online to see what they think.
So, for me, it is a real concern that if the first thing that people see when they log on to niddrie.org is a half baked, out-of-date site, then it doesn’t bode well for follow up visits. It is such a powerful tool and I would love to employ somebody to do it full time. I can see the necessity even if I mock the job title.
I think churches benefit from things like member’s pages and forums for discussion outside of Sunday services. So, hands up. We suck at number 7 on my list. I am trying with this blog though but it does have huge limitations.
Please pray for us that we would find a website guru willing to help us. Unfortunately, they won’t be called, ‘Cyber Minister’ but maybe something like, ‘person who knows stuff about technology and web pages, is not obscure, speaks in words I understand, get’s the job done, and makes whirry things look good minister’. Not sure how we will fit that on their name badge but I will worry about that if and when the need arises.