How Twitter is changing the way we do church

Introduction: from the Worship Central Team

At Spring Harvest recently we could text questions in during the talks (and get them answered rapidly!) and follow on Twitter. Hear what Al Gordon has to say about the social technology revolution....

Five quick thoughts on how the social technology revolution is impacting the church, and what it means for us worship leaders.

[1] RELATIONSHIP NOT RELIGION
The impact of MySpace, Facebook and now Twitter proves that while people may have given up on organized religion, they have not given up on relationship. People are still hungry for an encounter with each other. This is fundamentally good, and our challenge is to lead them to a deeper and more authentic encounter with God.

[2] PARTICIPATION NOT PROGRAMME
The status update has replaced the news flash, and this time everyone is involved in creating their own news story. People now expect to be involved in shaping the story, and this is good news for us as worship leaders, because it is a return to a more New Testament model, 1 Corinthians 14:26 "When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation." Our programmes are going to fail unless they enable participation across the church.

[3] SHORT IS SWEET[er]
Have you noticed the way that 'tags' like 'Awesome God' and 'The Stand' have been connecting over the past few years? People don't need 43 verses to express our feelings, because this is a generation of expert communicators, who are used to condensing complex emotional and factual stories into 140 characters. This will impact the way we write, and how we balance theological content with simplicity. [EDIT... to clarify I'm not saying we should write short pithy choruses, but that the way we chose our words is key. The right ten words can capture the heart powerfully.]

[4] ONLINE ALL THE TIME
We're connected 24-7, including during church. I get tweets from people all the time saying 'in church, listening to X talk on Y, very good' etc. We have to work harder to engage people in a world where there is always a competing story happening online. In the next few years practices like Backchanneling are going to become more important in church to keep people engaged. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backchannel

[5] MUSIC IS SOCIAL GLUE
Every now and then I notice during one of the songs, someone gets out their phone and tries to Shazam the tune, or records it for their mate. MySpace has proved powerfully that people bond socially around music, and more than ever we're using social networking to record our stories using the songs we like. This is an amazing environment for worship leaders to work in.

Follow on Twitter
'worshipcentral' http://twitter.com/worshipcentral

Office posted the article on Friday, 24th April 2009 at 11:13pm
Article updated on friday, 24th april 2009 at 11:14pm


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