A recent article suggested that the Christian church is seeing a decrease in attendance largely due to the ability to connect with people electronically. In other words, instead of going to church for a weekly dose of social interaction, people can just hop on Facebook, send a text to a friend, or connect in some other way.
Given that telephones have been meeting that need, although to a lesser extent, for decades, I don’t think this is the root of the problem. Personally, I see a lack of solid, relevant education being the greatest problem the church has faced over the past few decades, leading to generations leaving en masse. Quite honestly, if the only thing bringing people to church is social activity, then the church would do better to sell its property to its host city so the space can be used by multiple social clubs throughout the week. More importantly, if that’s all the church is providing (well, that and some nice music), it’s completely missing its mission and deserves to die.
But if we’re going to do the work of the church, the question then becomes, “How do we use this technology and information to do the work of the church?” Roughly 2/3 of all Americans between 18 and 45 have a Facebook account. Facebook is all about communication with people. Nearly every American in that age range has a mobile phone. Mobile phones are all about communication with people. Jesus came for everyone. Jesus is the Word of God in the flesh. You don’t get much more about communication than that. So then it just makes sense to use these (and many other) means of communication to connect them with The Word.
We’re already working on some upcoming projects that will use these technologies to connect with people, or more to the point, connect people with the Word. That said, there are many other opportunities we haven’t dreamed of yet, not to mention opportunities that can be done individually by you.
“But,” I hear you say, “I’m not on Facebook! I don’t have a computer!” (This article will be printed in our monthly newsletter.) You have a phone, right? And people you see regularly? And so far, the Post Office is still in business. We still have opportunities to share God’s love with those around us, both in word and deed. Let others see the New Creation God has made you to be by your Baptism, dead to sin and alive to Christ’s love.
How do we do that? You don’t need a demographic study to answer that question. Look at the needs of those around you. If you don’t know what they need, ask them! If they seem down or stressed or frustrated, offer to help. When they politely turn you down, say, “No, seriously. I’d like to help. Really.” If their needs are beyond what you can do to help, then offer to pray for them, and actually pray for them. Check in with them, let them know you’re still praying, and keep checking in.
If you have other ideas, post them below (if you’re reading this online) or drop a note in my box, or call me.