You know that awkward moment when you are trying to talk to a student about something you saw on their Instagram (or Facebook, Twitter, etc), but you are trying to do it without sounding like a total creeper? No? Just me? Perfect.
In many ways, technology has made ministry easier. Sending a quick note, following up with a missing student, or prepping for your upcoming messages is as easy as logging onto Facebook or Twitter.
When I first started in ministry, students didn’t even have email accounts, and if you wanted to know what was going on in their life, you needed to call them on the phone or show up at their house. It is amazing how the times have changed. Now I can follow and connect with students in endless different ways. It’s easy, but I tend to think it is just an illusion of true community for both our students and for us.
Technology is a gift, but it cannot replace being with our students and building authentic relationships. Maybe, the key for us and for our students is to not confuse the ease of these elements with real community and connectedness. Showing our students what “life together” looks like can’t happen online. And that is exactly what we are called to do- to invite students into the life of the Body.
In an ever-advancing technological world we have to keep going back to the basics of being together. (Kicking it early church style.)
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-46 (NIV)
Use all the online tools you can to invite your students into life together, but don’t forget the basics:
1. Do the mundane stuff with each other. Break bread, eat together, and invite students into our homes.
2. Pray with each other and for each other.
3. Worship and read God’s word together- not just a part of your programs, but as a way of connecting with each other.
I am grateful for the gift of technology, but I don’t want to be deceived by the illusion of community any longer for myself or for my students.
Will you join me in going back to the basics of being together?