Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Can you cyberpastor a church? part 1

I am going to post a lengthy article on this subject, but for conservation of your time, I am going to do it bite-size. So here is the first post...

Can You CyberPastor a Church?

My guess is that they did not have to answer the questions I do. Who? Pastors of years gone by. I recognize that they had their own set of unique issues and questions to work through. Not harder, not easier, just different. The questions and issues concerning electronic communication simply were not on their radar. (And to be fair, these kinds of questions will most likely morph into other issues and questions in future years.) John Calvin most likely never had to decide whether to add ‘so-and-so’ as a friend on Facebook. The writings of John Bunyan were not read first as blog posts. Even men like James Montgomery Boice and Adrian Rogers lived the majority of their lives not interfacing with the kinds of electronic communication that are considered commonplace today.

So, what happened? It is not in the scope of this post to describe in detail the history of the internet. That has been done in many other places, and my attempt would be meager at best in describing it. What I can describe is that since my first real exposure to the internet (probably in 1994), my life has grown increasingly MORE dependent on the internet. My email inbox has actually become a more significant part of my life than my mailbox. My news is not thrown into my driveway, but compiled by my RSS feed Google Reader. We’ve come a long way in many respects of communication even from the dial-up internet craze created by the movie “You’ve Got Mail.”

Times have changed, haven’t they? They are not necessarily better or worse, just different. And so, as I said, the challenges and issues of a pastor in the 2000’s is fairly distinct than the issues and challenges that those even in the 1980’s experienced. The technology is different, the audience is different, and so what does this mean in relationship to pastoring? Is there a place, now, for cyberpastoring? Should serving and shepherding in cyberspace be out-of-place, commonplace or put in its place?

to be continued...