Monday, November 7, 2011

Social Media Musings #1 - Don't be Afraid of Technology

I've had a lot of very positive feedback from Sunday's preaches on how we should make use of social media. For the benefit of all of you who couldn't make the evening meeting, I thought I'd do five separate blogs this week on the five thoughts I preached on at the 7pm meeting. I'd love to hear comments or thoughts on these, and experiences of putting them into practice.

So here we go with thought #1 - Don't be afraid of technology - use it! Historically Christians have been at the forefront of using new technology to spread the gospel and build the church. Whether it was Paul having a missionary strategy which depended on the roads the Romans were building, people like Tyndale and the reformers seizing the opportunity presented by the printing press or CS Lewis inspiring a nation with his radio broadcasts during the Second World War, our history is full of people taking 'new' technologies and using them to advance the gospel (OK I'm not sure the radio was that new in 1940, but you get the idea!). So let's not run away from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Podcasts, texting and blogs and the opportunities they give us. Let us as individuals and as a community grab hold of them and see that they are used for good rather than evil.

And let's make use of the opportunities technology give us to be creative. There was a time when the Christians were designing and building the most beautiful buildings, telling their story through breathtaking stained glass windows and composing and performing the music all of society wanted to listen to. Yet so often we are now reduced to taking pot shots at the output of Hollywood and MTV, or retreating into our Christian music / radio / TV cocoon. There was a time when without a book publisher, recording contract or backing of a TV or radio network your voice would never be heard. But now through blogs, YouTube and Podcasts, as well as the availability of incredibly cheap cameras and video editing software, anyone can be an author, musician, broadcaster or short film maker, and instantly have a potential audience of millions, all either for free or at minimal cost. We serve a God who is unbelievably creative, so as people made in his image let's unleash a wave of creativity using all of this new technology. I'm loving some of the creativity come out of Kerith at the moment. The magazine, the CDs, the videos and the posters around the building. But I believe there is so much more to come, especially as we see our creativity flow over into the secular world.

So get started today. I agonised for months over starting blogging. Would anyone read it? Did I have anything to say? Yet four and a bit years in it's been one of the best things I've ever done. If you have an idea for a short film get a load of people together and start writing. Start a blog and start blogging. Even just right now send someone you love an encouraging text - it can be as easy as that. This might even be the excuse to get yourself that iPhone you've always longed for (disclaimer - other brands of smartphone are available - they're just not as good!).
One final thought on technology. Let's be sure we are in control of it, rather than it controlling us. Don't be stressed out because you're checking your email from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. Have times in the day when you turn it off and get a life! Why not even every now and again leave your mobile phone at home. You know there was a time not too long ago that you could actually go on a car journey without a mobile phone and everything would be OK - why not give it a go and enjoy some technology free time!

I'd love to hear comments on this - feel free to leave them on the blog, Twitter or Facebook.

More tomorrow.


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