Is your church a megaphone or a telephone? It's an old adage heard around communication circles, but especially important into today's digital world.
Here's the deal: Since the day of black and white TV we have had the technology piece in place to blast a message heard around the world. In the church realm I don't know anyone who utilized this technology better than Billy Graham has. One of the pinnacle events in Billy's preaching career was March 1995 where experts estimate that a single broadcast was bounced off of 30 satellites, hitting 165 countries to broadcast one of Billy's sermon (entitled "Global Mission") to an estimated one billion people.
Even in the '90s and before, as churches were struggling with technology, Billy fought to utilize technology: "I see no contradiction between the old, old story and the newest means to transmit it. It is time for the church to use technology to make a statement that in the midst of chaos, emptiness, and despair, there is a hope in the person of Jesus Christ."
Broadcast Technology in the 90's allowed for Billy to transit his sermon, to megaphone his message on a tv network so that virtually 20% of the world population could hear a single sermon. Interestingly, a lot has changed in the past 25 years, yet the church hasn't kept up. Churches use technology to megaphone our message around the world, transmitting our sermons of hope for all to hear.
But technology has grown in 25 years. The Online Movement is not just one of transmitting one-way communication, but engaging in two-way communication. Today we can not just talk TO people, but talk WITH people, We can do more than just broadcast sermons of hope en masse... but engage, talk, disciple the few... the individual.
Church, to engage people online is to listen to them. Engaging people online means your inviting them to speak and you showing that you care about what they have to say. Create opportunities and environments where people can share on a personal, intimate level where they are in life. Like Billy, we are called to reach the world, sharing (as Billy said) that "in the midst of chaos, emptiness, and despair there is a hope in the person of Jesus Christ." In 2018 however, unlike 1995, the best way to do that is through an engaging conversation.