Nothing’s hotter in the water in the evangelical circuit than the discussion about the use of online technology in regards to community building and “church”.
Although there are a lot of particularities that have been battled over, eventually the conversation always heads toward whether “real” community can be formed online. Inherit in these conversations is the granular discussion about the dynamics of community.
One such granularity is the meaning of “friendship”.
The social networks themselves, and those of us who spend a lot of time there, are still trying to work out the details on what it means to be a friend with someone online. With friendship comes benefits – you get a stream of information about the person, but it also has costs (you have to wade through a stream of information about the person, and they get access to your intimate details).
True. Without question. The evolution of your network and social community has radically shifted, for the good I’d argue, but it’s not without the bumps of “humanity” that wreck such a seemingly-perfect deal that technology affords.
And that’s why the Church, and all of us as technoevangelists engaging in the online world, are sitting pretty.
Because I believe that we, the Church, are the few and empowered people that can truly answer Mike’s question. 2009 will be a BIG year where ministries will have to grapple with these questions and be forced to engage on a spiritual level of what it means to bring community online.
Some additional challenges we face this year:
- Wading through the “noise” of hundreds of voices.
- Managing relationships in a better fashion.
- Trusting in our “tools” much much much more.
- Being frustrated when we realize these tools, in and of themselves, are insufficient for the 100% true Christian experience.
- Managing “change management” and “change relational dynamics”. I’ll speak more to this later perhaps.
- “Old guard” adapting to a fast paced world of tech.
- Culture clashes of epic proportions.
- Time management. The “honeymoon of technological adoption” stage that everyone goes through.
- Issues of sustainability.
- Spiritual development.
Any more you’d care to add or that are on your hearts? It’s going to be a wild, wild year. I’m pumped. Let’s do it.