What Is Digital Pluralism? Come and See on Sept 17

Don’t worry, if you’re not familiar with the term “digital pluralism” you’re not behind the times, out of touch, or manifestly uncultured. Trust me, I should know, as I made this term up! 🙂 What I mean by talking of digital pluralism is to recognize that we live in an era when multiple stories, worldviews, traditions, convictions, and versions of reality now circulate, and even compete, with each other largely because of the advent of digital communication. Think about it in terms of this analogy: a generation ago we had “the Big Three” in television which, truth be told, mostly featured all the...

Is The Church Really in Decline? (Pt. 2)

A few weeks ago, I asked whether the church was really declining. That may seem like an odd question, given the constant bemoaning of attendance and membership declines in mainline congregations, but I pointed to the unparalleled growth of Christianity across the rest of the globe as indicating that perhaps our vision is at times to narrow when we consider God’s work in and through the church. This time, I’d like to suggest that we also at times unnecessarily narrow our vision when thinking about God’s work through the church by limiting our imagination only to congregations. When we do this, we overlook the profound...

What Are We Protecting?

I found the following thoughts by Seth Godin provocative: At the congregation down the street, they’re doing things the way they’ve done them for the last few hundred years. Every week, people come, attracted by familiarity, by the family and friends around them, part of a tribe.   And just past that building is another one, a different tribe, where the tradition is more than a thousand years old.   This is not so different from that big company that used to be an internet startup, but all the original team members have long left the building. Work tomorrow has a lot in common with work yesterday, and the safety of it...

Is The Church Really in Decline? (Pt. 1)

Is the church really in decline? I think that depends on how you define “church.” Look, I know that there’s been a lot of ink spilled about the decline of the church in North America. (And I no longer have to modify “church” with “mainline” anymore, as it is indeed the whole church – from liberal to conservative, Roman Catholic to Protestant, evangelical to mainline – that is now in decline.) And I know that the numbers occasioning this spilled ink are pretty much incontrovertible. But here’s the thing (actually two things, the first today and the second next week): Let’s be clear that when we’re talking about church...

Is Your Church Using Social Media…

…well? And that matters. Because it’s not just about using social media, but using it well. That is, responding to the Digital Age isn’t just a matter of having a Facebook page or semi-lame (or even pretty good) website. Rather, it’s thinking with care about the variety of channels of communication that are available to us today in order to support our people in their Christian walk. Of course, the very thing that makes this moment so amazing in terms of our ability to share the Gospel and equip people for lives of faith – the nearly uncountable number of communication channels available to us – is precisely that which makes...

An Emboldening Thought

So what if all the decline our congregations and denominations have experienced in recent decades has little to do with a failure of leadership (what congregational leaders fear) or changes in theological or political stances (what more conservative church leaders assert) or a degenerate or disinterested generation of believers (what people in the pew too often feel) or with any of the other things we usually attribute it to. What if the decline is simply the result of a massive cultural shift? That is, what if we now live in a world where the emerging generation a) has tons of options for ways to think about and make sense of their lives,...