I was a guest speaker at a church, waiting for my time to go up to the platform. That's when I saw something curious. The staff person responsible for coordinating the worship service was busy typing away on her laptop. Perhaps a last minute change to the PowerPoint, I thought. But as I walked behind her, I saw that she was consumed with typing a message on someone's Facebook wall. It felt out of place to me, given that she was the person responsible for leading God's people in worship but she seemed mentally someplace else.
I had a similar experience while visiting a Christian college. Sitting in the back of the classroom, I noticed that about a third of the students were surfing Facebook or MySpace while the professor was passionately teaching the New Testament. He probably assumed they were busy taking notes.
I cannot be too hard on the worship coordinator or the college students. I've noticed the same tendency in myself lately. A few Sundays ago, I was heading home after preaching three times. I was tired and looking forward to opening my laptop and reading my favorite blogsÃ‘particularly ones focused on missional theology and leadership. Just then I received a text message from a friend. He was inviting me to a club to see a band with a number of non-Christians, including one I had been trying to build a relationship with.
I suddenly faced a decision. Do I go home and read blogs about being missional, or do I go to the club and actually be missional? It sounds like an easy decision, but it wasn't. In all honesty, part of me truly wanted to go to the comfort of home and just sit in front of my laptop.
That moment forced me to begin reflecting on how much time I spend on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other online social networking sites. I wondered, If I spent less time online, could I be spending more time building friendships? Have I become so consumed with reading about mission that I've forgotten to actually engage it? As these questions arose, I started to get uncomfortable.
Don't misunderstand me. I find blogs quite encouraging. I've learned a lot about missional living by reading insightful bloggers. I have even gotten reacquainted with non-Christian friends from years ago on Facebook. But in truth, the bulk of my Facebook time is spent conversing with Christian friends and other church leaders. And most of the missional discussion I read online does not include stories of people coming to faith, but theoretical definitions and debates about what being missional actually means.
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