Small Group Pastor, Reid Smith is a special friend of mine. I had the opportunity to spend three days with him alongside Steve Gladen, Bill Search, Randall Neighbour, Greg Bowman, Carl George, and Eddie Mosley as we discussed the small group movement prior to taking the stage to tape The Summit, A Convergence of Small Group Experts
. Reid’s knowledge, spirit, leadership timing, and communication skills were a great blessing to all of us.
Reid is the guest blogger today. His handle on technology and Christian community is unparalleled.
There are a lot of benefits to using technology to build community. But there are challenges as well. Although I believe technology can be used to magnify the ministry & mission of the Church, I don’t believe it satisfies every dimension of human need and communication like human touch. But it comes pretty close.
I’ve tried to outline what I see as some of the benefits and challenges of using technology to enhance people’s experience of community:
• Connect real-time anytime
• You can build REAL relationships online and reconnect with people
• Additional ways of communicating humanize you as a leader
• Adds influence & fuels discipleship
• A way of modeling leadership, learning, & faith
• Collaboration of minds – aggregates wisdom
• Sharing of best practices (resources)
• Helps connect the dots in your communications
• It’s free – save $ in communications, resources, curriculum
• Decentralized leadership development (particularly helpful w/multi-sites)
• Helps to fill-in the gaps between group meetings
• Can be impersonal
• The lure of productivity can decrease connectivity
• The lure of convenience can decrease community
• Need high tech + high touch (requires consistent, involved leadership)
• There’s no substitute for human touch
• Users can hide
• Easy to misinterpret (consider: 90% of communication is non-verbal)
• Can accelerate the process of somebody who is sliding away toward isolation
You’re reading this article now because you’re using technology to connect. You’ve probably shared resources and insights with those you lead because of content that was disseminated by today’s technological tools. Just as a microphone amplifies the speaker’s message so technology can amplify the experience of community. Social media, for example, can be leveraged in ways that can exponentially increase meaningful contacts and those we reach with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Web 2.0 is a term that describes the trend of Internet usage and design that seeks the enhancement of creativity and collaboration among users. If you’re a Christ-follower who wants to maximize their missional impact, you’ve got to be 2.0. Explore today’s technological tools and seek to influence the millions of people immersed in the new social phenomenon of today’s online community.
Community Life Pastor of the 14,000 member multi-site Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach County, Florida (goChristFellowship.com) and the founder of the 2orMore small group leadership training and resource ministry. He lives in Jupiter, Florida with his wife of 15-years, Lisa, and two children: Mikayela (8) and Drew (5). Reid received his Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Cross-cultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and has been applying 'best practices' in small group ministry start-up / restarts, operations, and leadership development for the last 15-years.