Tales of a Midwest Lutheran on the East Coast

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Faith and Social Media (my two cents)

This was my article for our June newsletter.

In April, I attended a workshop held at Crossroads camp about engaging young adults in ministry. Now, you may be thinking, “But Pastor Lydia, YOU are in that category, right? Shouldn’t you naturally KNOW how to minister to your peers?” The trust is, I am rather an anomaly in my generation. While my confirmation class was the largest in my home church’s history (17), almost none of my fellow confirmands has been to church since. But it is also true that, like the rest of my generation (called “Millennials” by many social physiologists) I grew up navigating technologies that were unheard of even in my parent’s generation. 

We are living in a historic moment, where technology is exploding all around us and the world is changing faster than we can keep up with it. Where in the world is God in the mists of Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pintrest, Pandora, iPhones, texting, and Twitter? 

I recently heard a story about two shoe salesmen who traveled to Africa during its colonial era. The first salesman, depressed that the local people went barefoot, wrote home “Bad news. No one here wears any shoes.” The second scribbled his letter home in excitement: “Great news! NO ONE here has shoes!” This story comes from a fantastic TED talk given by Benjamin Zander (click HERE), which can be found on the TED website (TED talks are short, interesting talks given by experts and creative people around the world), Though Zander‘s talk is about classical music, this story he used has much to say about the world that the church finds itself in today.

We can look around us in dismay and think about those “darn kids” on their phones all the time, or we can wonder along with them about how to use what is available to us to connect TO people. It is true, technology can be an isolating distraction, but it is also a powerful tool that connects and engages people. This workshop I attended opened my eyes to the awesome potential at our fingertips, and the possibilities for ministry with people of all ages. For example, I post my sermons on my blog: 
www.likealutheran.blogspot.com and I’ve been trying out Twitter and Instagram.

 God has endowed us with creativity, curiosity, and the desire for connection. I hope that you will be exploring, trying, failing, testing, wondering, and discovering along with me, and that we can all find ways to grow in our faith together. 

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