When I was a kid, I was not motivated to learn how to ride a bike. It just wasn’t something I wanted to do; there were better ways that I felt I could use my time. Because of this, I was a little bit older than most kids probably are when I did learn. Finally, my dad, believing that it was something I needed to learn how to do, took me–along with my two younger brothers–to our church parking lot, and he told us he was going to teach us all how to ride our bikes that day.
As anyone who can ride a bike knows, the key is balance. Without proper balance, you will quickly fall off the bike. Pedaling is easy, stopping is easy…but to do those things, you must first be able to balance yourself and stay astride your bike. Without that, you won’t go very far.
True to his word, my dad did teach us all how to ride our bikes that day. I don’t clearly remember how long it took, but what I do remember is that he and my mom worked with us, and by the end of that afternoon, all three of us had learned, and were able to ride our bikes back home.
Just like riding a bike, the key to properly using technology is balance. The biggest pitfall of social media is that it can become a massive time sucker. I am as guilty as anyone else of scrolling through Facebook or Twitter for an hour, achieving nothing but passing the time. If we are to use social media for ministry, it must be more than a time sucker.
This is why balance is key. Social media can be a fantastic ministry tool to reach people with the gospel who we would otherwise never encounter. But this is only a part of the ministry we have been called to as believers. Social media is not a sufficient stand-in for fellowship and discipleship in-person with fellow believers within a church.
Another area of technology that could become hinder one’s spiritual walk is that of live-streamed church services. I am all for live streaming–I think it is a wonderful tool. My own church, as well as my dad’s, and many others I know, use live streaming either on their website or Facebook, or both, to reach people who are not able to be in the church building.
This is a blessing for those who are sick and cannot leave the house, or who are without a vehicle, or who are driving cross-country and don’t have a place to stop for services. They can still experience the worship and message of a Sunday morning service without physically being there.
But it is not a substitute for a real church service.
We must be careful not to become lazy. If live streaming a service takes the place of actually being present with a body of believers, then it is more a hindrance than a tool. We should not choose to live stream rather than go to church simply because we don’t feel like leaving the house, or don’t want to interact with people that day.
However, the pros of live streaming–or any other form of social media use for ministry–far outweigh the cons. Social media and technology allow us to be a blessing in ways that have never been possible before.
This is why balance is so important. With proper balance, social media is an augmenting tool to enhance a ministry. Without proper balance, it can be a drain that takes away the personal aspect. It is my belief that every church or ministry should have some form of social media arm, whether it’s a website, a Facebook page, or some other outlet. This is the world we live in, and not using social media is just as unbalanced as using it too much, but on the other end of the spectrum.
God has blessed us with these tools; we should use them. But as we do, we should remember that all things require a balance. Use the tools–don’t let them use you.