There are five areas that have been significant stumbling blocks to the Christian community’s ability to impact the culture. In today’s media-driven world, perception matters, and regardless of your theological persuasion, it’s time to realize that some of our efforts – even well intentioned efforts – can have damaging consequences. From that perspective, this week I want to discuss a five statements that I’d like you to think about and then give me your response. I’ll toss out the biggest issue and see if you agree:
1. Christian Leaders Don’t Get Today’s Media Revolution
There’s a huge upheaval happening out there, but for most Christian leaders it’s pretty much unnoticed. The digital media revolution is far more than just social networks, watching comedy clips on mobile phones, or text messaging. The fundamental transformation that will impact everything in the future is the word “open.” It will have massive implications for culture, politics, education, business, and religion.
It will cause a massive shift in the way we find, process, and relate to information, and it’s impact will spill over into relationships, faith, business, family structures and more. And if church and ministry leaders don’t understand and respond to this change, our impact will eventually slip away.
Think of a world that’s experiencing a two-way conversation instead of the traditional one-way model. The next generation wants to communicate, and are using media that’s “always on.” As a result, they want to participate – to have a voice. After all, they grew up picking the next “American Idol” by texting into a cell phone. They want a voice and they want it now. And it will impact everything from media to how they experience worship.
Generation after generation pastors and Christian leaders got it wrong. They believed our only responsibility was sharing the message. But we also have a responsibility to make sure that message is received. In the open world of the future, those who simply preach or teach without regard to the way the audience understands and responds will be left in the dustbin of history. You need to understand the technological changes that are happening today and the way those changes are transforming the way we communicate.
And this isn’t just about a few religious leaders being embarrassed because they don’t understand the media transformation. It’s about churches and ministry organizations going out of business because they don’t know how to connect with the next generation. It’s about a disconnect with the culture because we don’t know how to speak their language. This media revolution is just as significant as the invention of the printing press, and it will change our world just as much as the press change the world of that era. This is serious, and it’s time we got it.
What’s your reaction? Do you think it’s an important? Let me know. In the meantime, stay tuned for my new book appearing later in January. It’s the story of this media revolution and how we should respond. Every person of religious faith needs to read it.