Do It, Don't Blog It
Does all our online chatter about being missional keep us from being missional?

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 blogsÑparticularly 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.

June 22, 2009

Displaying 1–10 of 25 comments


May 29, 2011  2:46am

Hey - I am certainly delighted to discover this. great job!

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Linda Stoll

June 26, 2009  10:26am

You've got it. The more technology wraps us in its seductive grip, the less relational we're becoming. We've only got so much energy and so many hours in each day. Every hour I spend connected with a screen in one way, shape, or form, is an hour less with the people in my world. And even more so, with the God that I serve. And the more time we spend wired, the more overstimulated we become. We're always on. Our brains, our bodies, our souls are never at rest, never still. We have become addicts. Adrenaline junkies. There's something very wrong when the first thing we do is go to the screen in the morning when we wake ... I do believe that we are like the frog in the kettle ... enjoying the warm bath and completely unaware that we are dying slowly, but surely ... Maybe it's time to jump out of the kettle before the flames get too high.

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June 26, 2009  12:09am

I think it would have been appropriate to have just the title and the byline. :) BTW, I actually like the title, the suggested rewrite assumes we can do both well. I find myself becoming distracted, and since our culture is fully immersed in distraction we happily chalk it up to being "relevant." I am not a fact I am quite addicted to the little technology I have and crave (covet?) even more. This is not judgment for me, but confession. So long, I'm "Out of Ur"...

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June 25, 2009  7:26pm

Dan Great post, it is something that I have thought about as well, I have found it interesting being a pastor for since 1985 that while I love and agree with the conversation that has taken place for the last 10 or so years there is a culture that loves to sit and talk about what could be different and not do or give to make that happen, I do not mean that in a mean way but it is partly true. I know I used to have 800 people attend our church until I wanted to me missional now I have 120 but we are living it out in the burbs and having a blast. while I see the value in face book at times, I also struggle with the idea that for the most part people would not even take the time to talk to these people and now are reconnecting which I am sure it is great but not even having to many real conversations with those around them. to find the balance in this is tough as one person said balance is that point when pendulum is at the bottom for a split second before going to the other side.

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Joe B

June 25, 2009  10:01am

You can be missional on Facebook, and you can be a stuffed shirt at a club. I agree that endless talk is a colossal sin of the church, and the blogs (that I too love) are the epitome of it. My pathetic little blog has brought two people into the arms of Christ this year, and that's why I continue it. People come, they read, I e-mail them, they call, we have coffee or a beer, and I tell them the kingdom of God is here. I've kinda sworn off reading and commenting on the Christian "tastes great! less filling!" sites. I've been told many times that the blog-u-mentation brings out my worst side anyway.

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June 25, 2009  9:18am

Of course, there are also ways to be missional online... But it means going out and spending time on some of those heathen, non-theology types of blogs. :-) Interacting with people where they are at. I've found that many non-Christians can have more civil discussions about Jesus than many Christians do, actually. Sort of like talking about it at the bar or the concert rather than sitting in a church pew all day.

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Chris Hewko

June 24, 2009  9:25am

wow. so after reading a blog about not i am leaving my comment. profound. having just been through alan hirsch with my district team i find that i am compelled to introspect. it is always easier to talk about it than do it. in fact, it is even more fun. the more you talk about it, the more you can convince yourself you really like it. But like henry poole said...who are you trying to convince - you - or me? (at least he said something like that).

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June 24, 2009  6:30am

“Do It, Don’t Only Blog It,” in a nutshell, reads “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17

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June 24, 2009  1:21am

@ Brad yes I agree, me too I separated my friend's and my social activities in my FB from being a christian

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June 23, 2009  10:23pm

Thanks for the post, Dan. Here's what I have done: First - I keep all church folks off of my FB. Second - I Post something reflective (e.g. a great quote or something) and then give a reflection question or two in the 'comment' box. My friends' responses have been amazing.This way i am connecting with old friends and utilizing that time to get them to reflect deeper about their lives.

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