Friday, March 22, 2013

How to engage with people and ministries without losing your grip on reality


With Easter right around the corner, I had a lot of thoughts running through my head at this morning's "Social Media Shepherds" gathering. That group, which is “an ecumenical group that hosts monthly events focused on empowering churches, ministries and individuals in their use of social media,” always reminds me that “church” is an awkwardly complicated thing to describe.

Why? Well… Do I really want to invite friends and neighbors to an unfamiliar Easter services in an intimidating building with awkwardly formal songs and performances that serve to introduce a 30+ minute speech that may or may not successfully convey to them that the God of the Universe wants to reconcile Himself to them, personally?

Maybe.

Maybe that’s exactly what they need.

Maybe.

But, as I said this morning, what I’d really like to do is invite them into the conversations that we have around our tables in our Sunday morning “Adult Bible Fellowship,” or show them the way I and my friends email and text each other for support during the joys and challenges of our professional and personal lives.

That, I think, is where the Gospel is lived out.

In the meantime, I know (and try not to get frustrated by the fact) that our church databases are out of date and the world’s “CRM” is a foreign (or, at least, unexecuted) concept in the ministries I dedicate my time to. We don’t even “perform” as well as the world does when it’s trying to sell the latest widget.

We can do this better. Yes, from a theological standpoint it’s not “we” who “do the doing,” but Jesus did tell us to be engaged in the world for His sake… and in my circles at this particular point in time I’m not steeped in “an environment of engagement” like I wish I were.

As my video production professor used to say, “If your shot isn’t working, move the subject, the camera, or both.”

So… What needs to move?