- “It has to be face-to-face.”
- “If they’re not interested in our style of worship it probably won’t do any good to try to contact them.”
- “We’re not familiar with computer ways of getting the message out.”
- “We have too many old people who don’t have computers.”
- “It costs too much to get someone to set up what we’d need to connect using the computer.”
- “It’s too much work to keep things updated.”
- “I just like traditional ways of connecting with people and worshipping.”
Electronic technology can be intimidating to those who haven’t grown up with it as a part of everyday life. The result is that trying to connect with many of their congregants is difficult and many unchurched and unbelieving aren’t touched at all. There are many churches that are graying and dying because they don’e use technology to reach people.
Jesus’ method of reaching people and connecting with them was to go where they live, work and socialize. Would he have used computers to reach people had he lived today? I’m of the opinion that it wouldn’t have been the only means of reaching others and at the same time, he would have taken advantage of electronics to get the attention of anyone he could.
“But our older adults would be left out because most of them don’t own a computer and if they do, they probably don’t know how to use them like most of the kids do.” Many older adults may be intimidated by computers, and at the same time, a growing number are being introduced to computers by their children and grandchildren. And there are ways to continue keeping in touch with those who don’t use electronics. You don’t want to miss out on opportunities to touch the lives of many in our society. Church members can be made aware of the need to use every means possible to reach the unchurched and lost.
Young Adults live in a world of busy schedules, both at work and at home. Work is frequently so demanding that a forty hour work week is a thing of the past for many adults. Even when away from the work site or office, electronics mean that work follows the employee 24/7 in many instances. Being “on call” some days is a norm in many job descriptions. Home is loaded with schedules for adult activities and hectic involvement for children who have to be taxied everywhere. Business and family frequently overlap in everyday busy-ness.
Young singles are a significant contingency of our population. They tend to stay involved with study as students and/or work. Their primary means of staying in touch with friends is through electronics. Keeping up with their busy agenda is done with electronic “gizmos.” Easy access to information has become a must for young adults.
It seems obvious that teens live by electronic/computer/internet ways of communicating and connecting with their world. It’s quick and easy information to gather and it fits in their fast moving, brief-attention-span lives. If you want to reach teens, electronics is a must.
5 ways you need to take advantage of to reach members and the unchurched:
- Web site – People looking for a church home, whether new to the community or not, will be checking the web for information. If you don’t have a web page telling about your church, and keep it updated regularly, you’re missing out on an important means of letting the area know about what you have to offer.
- Weekly or monthly newsletters — By publishing your newsletters on the internet, you can have more flexibility, the option of greater color and eye catching clip art. It can save the church a lot of postage expenses.
- Social Networks – While Facebook and other social networking sites can be misused by many people, it is also a way to connect with a Fan Page that those using the networks will find uniting.
- E-mail – Is a way of expressing interest and keeping up with people.
- Texting — For immediate messages and learning about how people are doing as well as expressing concern, texting is often more effective than even the cell phone.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, and in fact, many of the electronic connections may be money saving processes. E-mail and texting are free ways of expressing concern and gathering information.
You may have to put in a little effort to develop new habits of taking advantage of new ways of communicating. Keeping in mind that change is frequently difficult, your investment of time and adjusting to new ways of getting in touch with new people and staying in touch with with those who are members of your congregation.
hg For help as you consider ways to connect with your church members and engaging the unchurched, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 225-773-8883. I’d like to hear your comments, questions and suggestions.