May 29, 2009
Thou Shalt Not Twitter in Church. Should that be the 11th Commandment?
Many mainline Protestant churches still struggle to fill the pews, as evidenced by a multi-million dollar advertising campaign from the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
People drop away from church attendance. Young people are not interested.
So how can church improve? What can the church do for you? Or maybe itâ€™s not the churchâ€™s problem.
Actually, it may be our own fault.
In the early days of the church, Christianity grew incredibly. The apostles purposefully traveled long distances to spread the good news, took the time to talk face to face with others, and spend time with new believers.
Thanks to the web and internet technology, we donâ€™t need to budge to talk to someone on the other side of the world.
However, we donâ€™t really talk to people anymore, either; we communicate by mediums such as cell phones, computers. In our love for technology and gadgets, we may have lost that human touch and sense of community.
Of course, we have to adapt to meet cultural needs, and technology has always been willing to lend a helping hand. In earlier days, when illiteracy was widespread, stained glass windows depicting Bible scenes helped people grasp the stories. Nowadays, the problem is that we get bored and distracted easily.
It is difficult to simply sit and listen, and it is common for a church to have a PowerPoint on a big screen marking the major points of a sermon.
But PowerPoints are staid compared to a new trend: Twittering in church
Some people are quick to embrace this form of communication, and want to use it in their own churches. Pastor John Voelz of Westwinds Community Church in Jackson, Mich. is accredited with this idea of using Twitter in church, and has others asking him, â€œGot any tips to persuade church leadership this is way cool?â€
Early Christians didnâ€™t have to worry about making the message look like the latest fad, or be apologetic about taking the time to converse with people. Sometimes, things are hard and boring! Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples succumbed to naps instead of praying. During Paulâ€™s journeys, he talked so long that a poor guy fell asleep while propped up against the window, fell out of it, died and was raised back to life.
We minimally accommodate ourselves and expect the church to meet our needs, our expectations. Give us a reason to show up. Make it easy for us to pay attention.
When people cannot focus on an hour long sermon, it is time to take a step back and reexamine both our faith and culture.