Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Collin Hansen on New Media and the Local Church

Collin Hansen, the new Editorial Director for the Gospel Coalition, has written a thoughtful post about the interaction of new media and local church ministry. It is easy either to dismiss the new forms of internet media or to overestimate their significance instead of doing the hard work of trying to understand the new dynamics that are emerging between the interplay of real life and online life. As Hansen notes, the lines cannot be neatly and starkly drawn.

A pastor who draws his primary identity from his internet associations is in need of some serious reevaluation of his life and priorities. On the other hand, a pastor who has the ability and opportunity to leverage the new media for kingdom purposes should not underestimate the good that his investment of time and energy can do.

Here is the money quote from Hansen's article:
God has instituted the local church for our good the the glory of Jesus Christ. He has revealed to us standards of character for Christian leadership. At its biblical best, the church enforces those standards with loving concern that the gospel would sink deeper and deeper into our whole lives, manifested in our words and deeds. We should be concerned that our online voices find that gracious support from their local churches. And our local churches should realize that online leadership is real leadership in a new media age, so they would be wise to identify and encourage the bloggers among them.
Read the whole post here.

7 comments:

flyingsola said...

Not trying to be contrary, but the longer I am in ministry (I am 42 years old, planting my third church- currently I'm bi-vocational), the less enthralled I am with today's technological trends. The reason being that the longer I have been in ministry, the more I have grown to love my local church and the stronger my commitment to it grows. I have spiritually grown from being a young pastor ready to set the world on fire, dreaming of having an influential mega-church to being a more mature minister who is aware of his own failings and who is humbled that God would use him to minister to the few He has given me. So now my perspective has changed and, in regards to these technologies (blogging, twitter, etc.) I now ask myself "to what ends do I pursue this task?" If a blog would serve to edify my congregation, then it would be a worthwhile endeavor. But if my goal is to see how many "hits" I can get, what kind of responses from across the globe I can elicit,to make a name for myself as one who has gained a following, etc., then I am afraid that I have taken my eyes off of the God-given task before me. My job is to shepherd the flock given to me in my local context and if they aren't reading my blog and if they are not following my twitters (I have asked my congregation composed mostly of college students if they twitter and none of them do, so I don't bother), then why am I spending precious time doing these things? Couldn't it be better utilized visiting them in their homes or working on my message? I appreciate the Founders Blog and others like it because you have a ministry to encourage other ministers such as myself, but I wonder what "ministry" most of the bloggers out there think that they are engaging in and if it fits the one given them by our Father.

DJP said...

"Loca church."

Speaking on behalf of everyone who knows any Spanish... I like it!

Tom said...

DJP:

Thanks. I was trying to get in the Christmas spirit a little early: "no L" ;)

Tom said...

flyingsola:

Good words. I think that you speak for many pastors who were hot and heavy into blogging a few years ago. The danger is that it is easy to become obsessed with the nearly instantaneous feedback to the point that it eats time, energy and focus that should be given to more important work.

I am thankful for some of the pastors that continue to blog (Ray Ortlund, Jr. comes to mind) but most of the ones who are blogging like it was 2006 aren't worth the time I would have to give to read them.

Keep pressing on in your church, bro. And keep planting!

G. HUBBARD said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
WoundedEgo said...

>>>...God has instituted the local church...

Which ones?

Russell Taylor said...

Too often we fall into the "either/or" mindset instead of a "both" mindset. We should focus our attention as pastors on the congregations that God has made us stewards of, but I believe it is a mistake not to take full advantage of any technology that reaches a larger audience. Good blogging takes discipline and time, but can be a very beneficial place for knowledge to be shared. The local church is always central in God's plan, but the network of local churches is now global instead of local.