Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Social Media Distancing

Since sometime in mid-March, the world as we understood it changed.  Almost overnight.  Life came to a standstill.  People and businesses and governments were paralyzed by a great unknown.  Everyone's lives were impacted - no one has been exempt from the shut down, stay at home, wear your masks in public, keep your distance to six feet, learn how to use your computer, device or smartphone better world we have discovered.

You've heard so many takes on this topic - trust me - I'm not sharing this blog with you to spin another frustration or perspective on any of the above items.  I'm wondering about one thing and one thing only... in the midst of making all of these changes, has the message I hope to bring to people been somehow circumvented by all of the technology I've had to use?

I think it is a fair question.  I'd love to say at first glance, no - not only no, but heavens no!  What choices did I have - did the church of today have?  Many of us had to learn how to use this technology and learn how to use it quickly.  I am so grateful that the leadership at First UMC embraced the move we made last fall to begin live streaming... I know that made our transition a whole lot easier.  I am so grateful that our leadership in Emmanuel and Adrian Church were willing to dabble in using video before we really needed to use video.  And I am ever so grateful for the many volunteers who have learned how to help with the media tech at First Church - running the projection program, adjusting the sound quality that is being sent out to various destinations (internet sites, monitors, nursery, and others), and being able to use the camera to project the worship service into the homes of many people.  In fact, if we were to center on numbers for a moment, we are reaching more persons now than ever through the various social media outlets we have available.

But numbers are not really the focal point.  I'm trying to imagine what we might have done differently if we still had only the rotary phone, pen and paper, radio and a megaphone to work with.  Those were the social media tools from the past.  They come from the age I grew up in and if we only had those things to go forward with, I'm convinced we would have made it work... somehow.

The point I'm trying to make is this: no matter what generational venue we are in, we still have to find a way to communicate.  This is especially true for the church in striving to convey the message of the grace of God and how it extends to all people, specifically when we are going through such difficult times.  My hope is that the technology we use never gets in the way of the message we bring.  I'm glad that the Lord has given us these tools to use and hopefully we will continue to use them to His glory.

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