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Technology & Spiritual Practice: The History of Church Communications


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A history of communications and religion, emphasizing the role of technology past and present and presenting the promise and perils of technology adoption by communities of faith.

Published in: Spiritual, Business, Technology
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Technology & Spiritual Practice: The History of Church Communications

  1. 1. From Oral To Digital: How Communication Technologies Are Transforming The Church <ul><li>The Technology & Spiritual Practice Series </li></ul><ul><li>By Paul Lamb </li></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ Groundswell is a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions…” </li></ul><ul><li>- Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff, Groundswell, p. 9 </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Open Source & Crowdsourced Church
  4. 4. Oral Church
  5. 5. The Word
  6. 6. Broadcast
  7. 7. Digital
  8. 8. The Bad News <ul><li>The average American now spends more than 32 hours a week online at home. </li></ul><ul><li>Video games are highly addictive, with game addicts showing more than half of the same traits as those addicted to gambling. </li></ul><ul><li>46 percent of women and 30 percent of men would opt to forgo sex for two weeks instead of giving up access to the Internet for the same period. </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Good News <ul><li>Unmediated global communications </li></ul><ul><li>Distance Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Political organizing </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile banking, mHealth, mAdvocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Technologies for the disabled </li></ul><ul><li>Live streaming & audio of church services </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching about faith </li></ul><ul><li>Fundraising (Twestival & Mobile) </li></ul><ul><li>Online confessional </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Fear <ul><li>...No wonder we feel disconnected from God: we are rarely able to give Him our full attention in solitude and silence. Thoughtful reflection is constantly sabotaged by the intrusion of cell phones, pagers and e-mail messages. No wonder our human relationships are so unsatisfying as they get reduced to snippets of interrupted, disembodied phone conversation. What feels like convenience is actually robbing us of those things we value most. We are left with bits and pieces of everything rather than experiencing the full substance of anything.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>-Ruth Haley Barton, Sacred Rhythms </li></ul>
  11. 11. Cultural Fears <ul><li>We are becoming more distracted </li></ul><ul><li>We are choosing efficiency over quality time </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t understand technology </li></ul><ul><li>We are no longer in control </li></ul><ul><li>Our traditions will be lost </li></ul><ul><li>Our institutions will become irrelevant </li></ul>
  12. 12. Technology IS a Disruptor
  13. 13. Printing Press
  14. 14. Digital Disruptors
  15. 15. The New Reality <ul><li>35% of adults in the US have a profile on a social networking site </li></ul><ul><li>Wikipedia has over 2 million articles posted to date </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook has 200 Million users globally </li></ul><ul><li>133 million blogs since 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>Apple’s iTunes has sold more than 6 billion songs since 2003, and there are currently 30,000 iPhone Apps </li></ul><ul><li>Out of the 20 most downloaded podcast shows on iTunes during a given day, 2 have spiritual themes </li></ul><ul><li>Nearly one out of every four U.S. adults say they have listened to a religious podcast in the previous week </li></ul><ul><li>78% of Twitter users are older than 24, and most are women </li></ul><ul><li>Dalai Lama among the top 10 Celebrities on Twitter </li></ul>
  16. 16. The People Speak
  17. 17. The people Self-organize
  18. 18. The people connect directly
  19. 19. Religion becomes personalized
  20. 20. IPhone Apps
  21. 21. Wouldn’t Jesus want it this way?
  22. 22. Maybe not this
  23. 23. But maybe not this either? Central Church Local Church Pastor Church Staff Congregation Laity Community Outreach/Programs
  24. 24. A New Covenant? Global Outreach (Virtual Visit & Live Streaming) Always on Church (video, podcasts, twitter, blogs) Lending a Hand (Hostel/Couch) Helpers & Connectors (social networking) Peer to Peer Support & Lending Generational Leadership Groups Community Home Gatherings (Re-inventors & feedbacklooops) Physical Church (Community Hubs) PEOPLE
  25. 25. Examples of Successful Churches <ul><li>Saddleback : live streaming, blog, video archive (with SM sharing tools), starter kit </li></ul><ul><li>The Journey : Podcasts, twitter, forums, very hip </li></ul><ul><li>The River : Blog, downloadable songs from service </li></ul><ul><li>Vintage Faith : Weekly email updates </li></ul><ul><li>Bridgeway Connect : Videos, social network , podcasts, Justlife TV </li></ul>
  26. 26. The Bottom Line <ul><li>The revolution will not be televised, it will be digitized! </li></ul><ul><li>Technology is not going anywhere, so get used to it </li></ul><ul><li>Change is the new constant </li></ul><ul><li>It’s not about the technology, but about relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Look for opportunities (maybe to establish a new religion altogether?) </li></ul><ul><li>Be part of the discussion (Internet 2, etc.) </li></ul>
  27. 27. Because if you don’t
  28. 28. You may not survive…
  29. 29. Next in 3 Part Series <ul><li>Technologies for Spiritual Practice : Tools & Approaches for Personal and Community Engagement </li></ul><ul><li>The Future of the Church : How Spiritual Communities Can Remain Relevant in A Rapidly Changing Technology Landscape. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Recommended Books <ul><li>Groundswell </li></ul><ul><li>Millenium Matrix: Reclaiming the Past, Reframing the Future of the Church </li></ul><ul><li>Working Across Generations </li></ul><ul><li>Speed: Learning to Survive in a more-faster-now world </li></ul><ul><li>iMuslim: Rewiring the Muslim World </li></ul>
  31. 31. My Information Paul John Lamb Email: Paul@ManOnAMission.Biz Website: ManOnAMission.Biz Twitter: Plamb Cell: 510.815.6091