In September 2021, I came across an online article that was posted May 2019 and I had to read it. I was uber curious of what the “experts” thought and taught about the digital age a full year before the entire church world was forced to migrate and commiserate the myriad of digital platforms. The title “Church ministry in a digital age: Five steps pastors must take” was enough to capture my attention. However, the five steps were too tantalizing to simply pass without at least a glance. The five steps listed in the article: 1) Know the times, 2) Kiss goodbye, 3) Kill the urge, 4) Knock on doors, and 5) Keep in “touch.”
What I offer here is my synopsis of each step and is in no-way a comprehensive or exhaustive re-stating of the author’s eloquence or depth.
1) Know The Times is about tracking current events and happenings that are relevant to your context and in the lives of those you serve.
2) Kiss Goodbye highlights the reality that “old things have passed away” and there are digital options for most every common task – music, books, finances, etc. Ministry tasks and tools must also become digital.
3) Kill The Urge challenges leaders to move beyond the printed works that some generations may find it difficult to substitute or engage in digital formats. Appeasement of the masses may make worship irrelevant and inaccessible for digital natives.
4) Knock On Doors is not what you think. It is about making everything shareable in digital formats. This does not replace pastoral visitations or evangelism. It does require leaders to be cognizant of how they communicate, what they communicate and how they share the communications with every generation of the community. It will mean the difference between one-moment messages or meanings that can be made over time and across the world in a moment – with one simple click.
5) Stay In “Touch” involves being always accessible but not always available. Take time for yourself and your own need to unplug and to step away from time-to-time. Every response must be meaningful, but every response cannot be an instant reaction.
With the onset of COVID-19 and all that racial reckoning brought to the fore of our ministry plans and normal ways of being, I wonder how many of these five steps matter within or have an impact upon the work and ministry our leaders and congregations must now undertake. The discovery of the article, followed by its reading, began as curiosity, turned into exploration, and now is an inquiry. If you are willing to join with me, Cedrick Bridgeforth, and a few others to discuss this article and similar topics, please forward me an email indicating your interest. If you wish to share your experiences or adaptations to any of these “steps,” you may also forward them via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Dr. Cedrick Bridgeforth
Director of Innovation and Communications