Lately, I’ve been reading several things on the flattening of the world and the technological revolution that has taken place over the last few years. The two I’ve read most recently are The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century by Thomas L. Friedman and Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Dan Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams. All of this has me thinking about possibilities for the Church. How can we faithfully use the latest techno-cultural developments to help make disciples of Jesus Christ?
We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, because there are some really smart folks who have discussed these issues (eg. Tall Skinny Kiwi’s post on Church 2.0). There are several others within this link that have some good thoughts as well.
So, how could this work for we United Methodists? What about Wesley’s small group accountability systems? Could we use technology to form groups of like-minded clergy and laity into accountability groups via the web? Privacy might be the biggest issue here, but it would allow methodists from all over the world who take discipleship seriously to take part in a group.
What about communication? Could districts communicate more effectively through blogging? A recent communication through my district has made me think about this. Our district superintendent recently sent out an email on an important social issue (torture, to be more specific) with some of his thoughts on a resolution that was voted on at Annual Conference. Some people have carried on an ongoing debate by replying to all of the people on the email list. If this communication took place via blog, it would probably encourage more effective debate and interactivity on all things communicated through our district office. In a rural geographically spread out district like ours, this could be an excellent source of community as well.
What else can we think of? On this note, I know our youth are far more cutting edge than we are with their involvement in interactive relational networks, something Gavin Richardson has spoke about in the past.
OK, what about our conferences? How should our communications departments be handling Web 2.0? What about web visionaries for each conference who could lead the way for our congregations?
Let’s think about this – where can we be on the edge of technology instead of catching up?