by Raymond LaFleur
Introduction. Digital media is within every area of civilized modern life. Utilizing it for the purpose of carrying out the mission of the Church and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought tremendous blessings to the body of Christ and to the whole world. There is also confusion, distraction, and a sense of isolation due to making digital transmission of the message of Christianity a focal point of worship. This short essay explores 5 different digital communications from churches and ministries.
Effective and Ineffective Examples. There were five churches/ministries and their digital communications explored for this project. The first was Christ Anglican Church’s use of digital streaming to make their Mass available to all who logged on during the current Covid-19 pandemic. This service, a very traditional and core expression of Christianity is normally focused on in-person worship. With current fluctuations and adjustments pressing, utilizing the technology to share a worship service with people in multiple locations via the web was particularly impactful. Canon Steven Dart’s calm and peaceful presence is comforting and strengthening in this difficult time. He emphasized that with all the current dislocation, the truth of the Gospel message and the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ remains unchanging and steadfast. The service was not formatted in a way to bring entertainment to the audience, but to make available the sacred Mass to those who now are unable to attend due to these social distancing restrictions.
Should All Digital Communications Opportunities Be Embraced? There are many digital age opportunities available by way of streaming video, audio, advertising, and special events. I believe churches should be prayerful and selective in utilizing digital age communications. It ought to enhance and uphold the mission of the church and the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If it is only to promote a particular ministries agenda or to elicit funds, then it may distract from the core message of Christ. Attracting young people to the church via mimicking the current world culture needs to be limited in my opinion.
How Churches Can Effectively Use Digital Communications. One way churches can effectively use digital communication effectively is to help people connect geographically to others in their same area. Some commuter parishes are spread out and the members are challenged to connect with others outside of Sunday services. Having links to small groups that can be coordinated on a church’s web page can lead to ready involvement with in-person bible studies, support groups, and service projects. Also, having sermons recorded online can be an excellent resource for academia, and for those that are homebound and unable to attend church live. Digital communications can be unifying and strengthening for a spiritual community. Implementing drastic and sudden changes can be discouraging for many. Prayerful and gradual changes, well communicated, and in stages may be wise as digital media becomes more and more prevalent.