Technology and social networking helps ministers tend their flocks
In New Zealand, pastors are looking to technology to reach their flock. With social networking sites like BeBo and taking advantage of the fact that youths are using text messages more than the phone, ministers are including these options as indispensable tools in their quiver for reaching them. According to Rev Paul Stanaway, young people are more comfortable using technology to deal with difficult and uncomfortable issues in their lives. In addition, Church websites now have streaming church services and sermons, online bible studies, podcasts and even the lighting of virtual candles. Kids can rely on technology as a kind of layer between them and those they are confiding in, making them feel a little more at ease with sharing often embarrassing secrets or “sins.”
“We have a whole new congregation out there who I have never met,” said Rev Wally Behan, whos website gets thousands of hits every week. “Communication is changing so rapidly that we have to keep up with it and it presents us with huge opportunities.”
But all too often, the very tools that ministers say can be beneficial in communicating to the faithful, can also be abused and cause more harm than good. Even in the church world, cyber and text bullying can be destructive and is forcing those in ministry to be more knowledgeable and understanding about what is going on in the wired world we live in. Kids are looking for help and advice from those who get it, and not from a luddite who can only speculate what it’s like to deal with the embarrassment of social bullying online.
Here’s hoping Seminaries get the trend and begin training in technology along with Bible study.
Hat Tip – Stuff New Zealand