Pope Benedict XVI recently launched the first ever Vatican YouTube channel. The channel will carry liturgical events, audiences with the pope and other papal activities. Benedict said that “wise” use of such technologies helps promote the search for “the true, the good and the beautiful” across borders and ethnic divisions. How important do you believe technology is to the evangelist of the 21st century? How do you use technology in your own church?
The pope is right, though he is playing catch-up. Most of us pastors have been hip to MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, church websites and Blackberries for a long time. We can e-mail, blog, podcast, post videos, Twitter and text anyone who is ready to engage the Gospel from any location or perspective. I couldn’t tell from Vatican YouTube how much actual communication with the pope will be encouraged (though there is a “send a message” option), but I can say that for most of us, access and communication are key motivations for learning new technologies.
We recognize that our regular in-person community gatherings are vital for nurturing faith. God made us to be social creatures: We need the warmth and words of fellow believers and seekers; we need the joy of voices raised together in song and prayer; and there is no substitute for the delightful experience of sharing a meal. But after our gatherings, we go back out into the world, where living with kindness, hopefulness, compassion and generosity can be extremely challenging. With technology, we have access to one another whenever we need support, encouragement or discussion. We have time to frame questions and answers wisely and thoughtfully before hitting “send” or “post.” We have the power to express our spiritual insights not only in words — always a preacher’s favorite tool — but also in music and art. We have the ability to find and align ourselves with others who are working on the same kingdom-building issues of ending poverty, war, hunger and hate.
Like other pastors I know, my life is about connecting you to the healing and renewing power of God, and unleashing our gathered healing and renewal on the world.
We can get started when you’re ready to talk, e-mail, text, Twitter, write on my Facebook wall ...
PAIGE EAVES is pastor of Crescenta Valley United Methodist Church. Reach her at (818) 249-6173.