The Church In A Post-Verbal Society

Pic courtesy of Flickr.com and Google Image Search.

Pic courtesy of Flickr.com and Google Image Search.

Earlier this week I posted on my personal blog about Living In A Post-Verbal Society. Here I would like to discuss the potential the Church has to lead spiritually in this new society. I am pulling from two conferences, 1) Micah Groups Facilitator’s Retreat and 2) eConnect Conference.

At Micah Retreat, Dr. Carolyn Gordon, Associate Professor of Communication and Chair of the Department of Preaching and Communication at Fuller Seminary, spoke on the Future of Preaching. She mentioned a story where a pastor was getting frustrated over a girl texting during his sermon. Later he found out that she was texting the sermon to her friends. Dr. Gordon asked us, “Do your sermons text well?” She went on to talk about how social media is making us preach all over the world. She mentioned how now the pulpit is portable, all over the world, everywhere a pastor goes.

Due to winter weather in New Orleans, I was unable to travel to the eConnect Conference in Denver (no, I never thought I would say this), but I did get to connect via Facebook and Twitter. The content from one of the presenters, Nils Smith, was particularly captivating to me. Smith is the Social Media Pastor at Community Bible Church in San Antonio and author of The Social Media Guide for Ministry. You did not know “social media pastors” existed did you? Hang with me.

At eConnect, Smith talked about the impact the church can have all over the world through technology. In one presentation, he threw out the following ideas:

  • Evangelism – Online Advertising
  • Discipleship – Sharing valuable resources
  • Worship – Video and Audio Streaming
  • Fellowship – Social Media
  • Ministry – Serve in your PJs

He followed with this slide of questions regarding Online Church:

  • Are you more interested in using the internet to reach a global audience or focus on your local congregation?
  • What concerns/fears do you have in using the internet for ministry?
  • What are the greatest barriers for you in moving forward in doing ministry online?

Smith speaks from experience. Here is his bio from the eConnect site:

In July 2010, Nils helped launch the CBC Online community that has grown to more than 10,000 in weekly online workshop attendance, with services in both English and Spanish. CBC Online has also expanded by launching Online LifeGroups, which has an active Facebook community of more than 190,000 people.

That is amazing, right? My two favorite quotes from the conference (tweeted out on Twitter) were:

  • “When you go online you become an international ministry” by Jason Caston, another  presenter.
  • “Use the Internet to do church rather than just get people to church” by Nils Smith.

Recently I posted on Online Church and Facebook Bible Studies. I believe the church needs to consider online ministry as we head into the future. As far as I know, most online churches are connected to a physical larger church. I believe smaller churches have something to offer though. One day, I imagine there will even be church plants that are completely online.

What online tools does your church use? What are the benefits of a post-verbal society when it comes to connecting people to Christ, His Church and His Mission? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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