Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Church's Digital Challenge

Thanks to Pat Hatton for forwarding a blog posting at "Church, Culture, and the Media," a site owned by the United Methodist Church, I posted this comment on "Digital Culture Demands Relevance, Change."

The field of healthcare was slow to adapt to digital media, and the global church faces some of the same problems. How to "certify" the "real" Gospel?

Healthcare started out by setting up a "seal of approval" system, aka Good Housekeeping seals. They were supposed to be the guideposts for consumers to select the most accurate information.

As United Methodists, we have the advantage of "first claim" on the eyeballs of our current members, and it's up to us to take advantage of that and strengthen that digital bond.

But I worry about the spiritually lost who are turning to Google for solace and comfort. About 10 years ago a "newbie" Christian in our church began spouting some weird ideas. Where did she get these ideas? From a website, from an online course she wanted to take.

We looked at that site together, and I was appalled. Rank heresy. I was able to steer her to something more mainstream and later she signed up for a Disciple course and is now on Disciple IV.

Would that still happen today? Perhaps the "standard" Christian sites have proliferated so they don't pop to the top of Google. (Is someone studying this?)

Further, should we United Methodists, or a consortium of churches, be paying for Google search words in order to get "first chance" at reaching the spiritually lost?

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