Thursday, September 16, 2010

You Can't Lead via E-mail

Our church has a web site. I have a blog and post on it almost daily. I even chime in on Facebook from time to time. While these are great tools, there is a limit to what they can accomplish. For instance, nobody has ever showed up to our church with a printout in their hand of something from our website claiming that our stance on the Holy Spirit is what drew them in.

It’s easy for the computer screen to become my comfort zone. I like my desk. I like my computer. I like my laptop at home. I like to write. I like to surf around on the internet checking out dozens of other blogs. But leadership involves being with people, not just technology.

An e-mail memo isn’t going to change the world. Not everybody reads your e-mail in a timely fashion. Preachers don’t get better by joining MySpace either. You can put out an All-Points-Bulletin on twitter for needing a guitar player, and someone might respond, but probably not. Over-dependence on these Social Medias is a sure sign that we are lacking in real time fellowship and authentic relationships. Our computers have become digital fences, and we interact with people behind the comforts of a 1024×768 screen.

You can’t make disciples via Facebook. On the other hand, you can find out about Farmville, or you can join the Pirate Army in the fight against the Sith Lords, or you can click the “like” tab that One Hundred Millions Christians Should blah, blah, blah. For all the social networking that Facebook brings into our lives, real life doesn’t happen there. It might be a foggy window into life, but it’s not real life.

If we are going to make a difference, it’s going to involve face to face conversations. It’s going to involve real relationships. If you need someone to serve on your ministry team, you’ve actually got to walk up to them and tap them on the shoulder and then make the ask. If we want to make disciples of teenagers, then we need to spend time with them. If we want to be effective as Christian servants, then we’re going to have to push back from our desks and meet with people in workplace meetings, sharing meals together, and going into one another’s homes. Things like that.

Yes, we're going to keep our website up; in fact, we will be improving it. And yes, I will continue to write on my blog and fool around with Facebook a little. But we need to learn a very important lesson: Effective leadership begins at the place where people are, and most often that’s not from behind out digital fences.

1 comment:

James Robbins said...

Very true Ron. Our culture is becoming more and more disconnected in the sense that we enjoy, understand and benefit from the "actual" company and presence of one another. Someone told me the other day that Facebook was deceiving. He said that a person could be anyone that he wanted to be online. I had to agree.

On the other side of the coin - Social Networking is the way that people tend communicate these days. To ignore its impact would be foolish. Instead lets exploit to open the door for the gospel.

I appreciate the balance that you're suggesting brother. Social networking can never take the place of socializing but, it can and should be used to drive people to a local body of believers.

I'm not sure how I feel about the whole online church movement. Even though most are designed to reach seekers they seem to just be building more fences as you've suggested. I suppose that they could be very effective but, where's the personal follow up?

Social Networking must be the gate through which we enter fellowship rather than the fence we hide behind! With that said...keep the blogs rolling, the tweets tweeting and the comments posted! Only keep them within the context of reality.