I am surprised at how often I am reminded that people still don’t understand that computers are so much more than electric typewriters. Yes, we can type out letters, reports, sermons and research papers and then conveniently store them for editing later, but there is so much more. We are missing the power that these machines put literally at our fingertips.
The Power of Computing
For ministry the power of computing means that we can approach the text of the Bible with tools never before available. Bible software like Logos (my favorite), Bibleworks, PC Study Bible, ESword (free) and more allow us to examine the text of Scripture in more and more detail. We can search, analyze and study faster and more accurately. We can find the Greek words associated with our English translations, discover their meanings and locate them elsewhere in the text almost instantly. These tools can transform our Bible study and help us understand God’s word because of the power of computing. Try that with an electric typewriter.
The Power of Connecting
Listening to the radio recently on my drive to work I was reminded by the DJ of how far we have come in terms of “connection.” He commented that when his grandparents were children there was no television, no radio, no phone, no form of mass communication whatsoever! He quipped, “I realized that the only way anyone could talk to anyone else back then was when they were in the same room together.” I had never really thought about that before. There was no way to communicate to anyone who wasn’t standing right in front of you. How different that is from where we are now! Right now this blog post can be read by anyone on the planet with a simple Internet connection. I can stand in the middle of my living room with a device in my had the size of a deck of playing cards (my iPhone) and can make a phone calls to a person thousands of miles away, access information on the internet, send a text messages to a friend, and all while watching television. We really are connected to the entire world.
But how are we using it? Facebook, Twitter and other social networking tools connect us, but do we really need to know what you had for breakfast this morning? Facebook membership just surpassed the population of the United States and if it were a country it would be the 3rd largest in the world! and As Christians, we have been entrusted with the most powerful message man has ever been given – the Gospel. Yet often we only think to “post” the results of a quiz like What Color Crayon are You? or What Should Your Name Really Be? Really? Is that the best we can do?
So the question is what are we, as the Lord’s church doing about it? How are we as Christians using this “information connection” to reach people with the gospel? It is not up to the elders, or the preacher – how can I reach out? here are a few suggestions:
- Use Facebook or Twitter to encourage people with the words of Scripture – I know a woman that has started posting a Bible verse that she is reading everyday. Her friends started noticing and commenting and the best part is, now, if she doesn’t post one, people ask her where her Bible verse is for the day! She is using the power of connection to share God’s word with others and she is having an impact.
- Start a blog – For preachers and ministry workers this is a no-brainer. Preachers can post about information about their upcoming lessons and sermons or provide follow-up information afterward so member can dig deeper. Ministry leaders can post about the affect their ministry is having, what needs they have and what they are doing. Members can write about their spiritual walk and encourage others as we all strive to reach greater heights.
- Read blog posts and share them with friends – Connect with others who are writing to find encouragement and strength. There are a number of good blogs out there that can lift you up and challenge your thinking. Here are a couple to get you started; Preacherpollard, Thoughts from the Mound, Weylen Words, That Fire Within. Blog readers like Google Reader, Bloglines and others allow you to “subscribe” to these sites (don’t worry it’s free). It’s like having your own custom newspaper delivered to your computer all day long. When you find a post that you like or helps you or touches you – share it with someone! Spread the encouragement!
Tap into the power at your fingertips. We have been provided with tools here that can change lives (including your own) and can change the world. Let us always as God’s people be looking at how to use these tools for the Lord.