This past Saturday I was manning the “Technology in Ministry” booth during ABCNJ’s annual session. I had many good conversations with folks about how technology can be used to connect people, and some conversations that left me kinda down.
On the good side, people seemed to be genuinely happy to have the people from their congregations directly contacted by the Region. Pastors seemed relieved that they could actually have the burden of being sent mailing after mailing from the region (which need to be read, passed on, and the read again before they could move on any initiative) – instead every member of their congregations who is willing will get direct e-mails from the region (entirely “opt-in.”). In addition to that, I was quite happy that so many pastors were interested in the free software CD that we’ll be sending to anyone who signed up. It appears that many of them are concerned about the software that “so and so installed on the computer.” When I told them we’d ben sending them a free office suite that could legally be installed on any number of computers they wished – their eyes popped out of their heads. This made me glad.
I was, however, depressed by one conversation I had with a delegate. An older gentleman read the “Technology in Ministry” title on my table, looked at me, and said, “Sorry that’s all beyond me.”
I don’t let things like that go. I know that not everyone will be able to be an expert with technology, but I also know that anyone who decides to attempt to use some of the communications tools I listed at the table (blogging, e-mail, etc…) can at least make a basic use of them. So I said, “No, if you want to use some of these tools you’ll be able to – anyone can.”
The man looked at me and replied, “Well, it’s more than I want to do.”
I responded, “Well, sir, I’m sorry but if you want to bringing the Gospel to people who are from generations younger than you – you don’t have a choice. This is where a lot of conversations are going on now and if you don’t make an effort you’re just cutting yourself off from a lot of people.”
He shrugged, “Well, I don’t need to do that. I’m not a pastor.”
So, many good things – and one great example of what’s wrong with our churches.