Technology can make things possible. Today, I went to a meeting in Des Moines without ever leaving Cedar Rapids. Web-conferencing isn't new, but it isn't used much in the United Methodist Church in Iowa. But since the meeting was about the communications ministry, it makes sense that we would use this communication tool.
We spent a great portion of the meeting discussing social media, like Facebook and Twitter, as well as web pages and email. Christ Community United Methodist Church has a Facebook fan page and I have a Twitter account. I am past Twitter. I think it has largely become an advertising tool. I think that the fan page has great potential for ministry. In today's world, if we don't use these tools, then we are missing out on opportunities to reach people for Christ. I embrace these tools. I only wish I used them more effectively.
If you know me, then you aren't surprised by these revelations. What might surprise you is that even though I attended this meeting via the web, I prefer face-to-face meetings. I chose this option because of travel time and expense. And as far as the technology has progressed, there are still great limitations. It is harder to read expressions. It is harder to gauge when it is acceptable to speak. And it is harder to stay focused.
So today, I tried something new. I drove to my friend's office, set up my laptop, and we attended the meeting together. We had a great time with side conversations and we got to eat lunch together, instead of alone at our desks.
We are built to be in relationships, that's how God made us. That is why Facebook is so popular. On Facebook, I can stay connected with people from high school that I have seen for years. I can reconnect with people that I went to Summer Games with. From the very beginning, we have been connected to others.
This is one reason why we need church. Sure we can have a relationship with God without being in the presence of others, but it was never intended to be this way. People have gathered together to worship since the beginning. It is still important for us to gather to worship. There is more energy, more passion, in community than there is alone.
As we find new ways to connect across the distance, it is important for us to remember that nothing will replace face time.
Practice your faith every day.