Making God relevant in a new media world

Posted Oct 24, 2011 | New Media Project

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By Jin An, guest blogger


In 2011, here are a few things I know: I will die someday. I love my Lord. I love my daughter. I can have church on my phone or laptop.

There is no denying the convenience that technology gives us. Many readers of this blog are likely reading from their phones at this very moment. The reality is we are all consumers of media in all of its forms. We watch videos, chat with friends, listen to music, email, update our statuses on our social network of choice. These new forms of media—social, video, audio—have become threads in the very fiber of our society.

As a church, if we accept culture in its greatness and its brokenness, we can engage it…and engage it well.

So what does that mean?

We need to meet our congregants and our communities where they are. We need to work to embed church into the streams of their daily lives.

At Quest Church in Seattle, we understand that our community is wired in. We understand our community is mobile. We understand our community is busy. We understand our community wants our interaction.

In understanding these things, we:
  1. Make our sermons accessible. Through audio and visual streams, our teachers have an outlet to reach our people when they are unable to reach us.
  2. Work very hard to keep our website dynamic and fresh with new information, so it’s an effective tool to keep people visiting.
  3. Are intentional about having a presence in social media, consistently updating and interacting with our church community and our community at large, so they know what we are doing to accommodate their needs.
  4. Enhance our church services, encouraging people to use technology to complement their church experience by looking up background information and taking notes in digital formats.
  5. Encourage and empower our church members to use technology in their lives to witness to others by letting others know where they serve on their social networks and encouraging them to document their lives and the activities in their communities to enrich others in our larger community.
  6. Encouraging our own staff and members to blog regularly to interact with our community.
  7. Market our church, our non-profit Q Café, and our Bridge Care Center to bring awareness and attention to the ways we are serving the community.
  8. Equip our staff with the tools to engage our community through these new forms of media.

Are churches resistant to new things?

In my consulting practice, I work with churches regularly throughout our denomination to assist them with resolving their technology needs. From my experience, I am inclined to believe that a large number of established churches don’t find the need or have the resources to implement these forms of new media; many have not gone beyond setting up websites.

Its tough work to stay connected...to stay interesting…to avoid stagnation.

But that is what society needs. We are competing with so much in an ADHD world. The iPhone is relevant in people’s lives. Facebook is relevant in people’s lives.

We work to make God relevant in people’s lives.

Jin An
Jin An is the IT Director of Quest Church in Seattle, Washington, one of the case studies for the New Media Project. Jin has been with Quest since it was founded in 2001 and was, in fact, the first staff member. Since then, he's been serving on the worship team as a guitarist and occasional worship leader, doing anything computer related, and doing whatever else needs to be done. He is a 1.5 generation Korean-American and grew up in the Seattle area. He is passionate about music, his daughter, and a few other hobbies. He is a graduate of the University of Washington's Business School, with double degrees in Information Systems and Marketing with a minor in Asian American Studies. He currently owns his own consulting company doing all aspects of IT and brings those skills to the Quest staff.

The New Media Project is a research project helping religious leaders become theologically savvy about technology. To request permission to repost this content, please contact newmediaproject@cts.edu.

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