I’m old enough to remember when we didn’t use the Internet to do ministry. Now, I can’t imagine life without it. Here, though, are some lessons we need to remember as we utilize this tool to do God’s work:
- We have access to the world. Via the Internet, others around the world can read our blogs and listen to our sermons. That’s both a great privilege and a weighty responsibility.
- More resources for study are available. Now, we can complete study courses without leaving our ministry location, and we can secure study resources with less effort and fewer dollars.
- Some of the resources and facts we find are wrong. Just because we find it on the Internet does not make it factual. We know that reality, but we sometimes ignore it when we face “crunch time” in our study.
- We can minister to more people locally. The Internet allows the homebound to hear our sermons, internationals to translate our writings, and the unchurched to check out our churches.
- Relationships sometimes suffer because of the Internet. The Internet makes it possible to communicate with people without ever seeing their face or hearing their voice. That approach is not the best approach to ministry.
- At the same time, the Internet sometimes promotes illicit relationships. Not only is pornography readily available, but so are emails and relational connections that lead to affairs.
- Plagiarism is easier – and detectable. In my day, pastors had to buy sermon books to find somebody else’s outlines. Not so anymore. The immediate access to sermons makes it easier to plagiarize – and easier for others to discover mistakes.
- Nothing is private anymore. It makes little sense now to think you can somehow keep hidden your wrong choices, ungodly messages, etc., for very long. Those days are disappearing.
- Church conflict is magnified. Now, a congregation’s conflict is not just internal. Too often, somebody sinfully chooses to broadcast it via the Internet.
- We need to use the Internet for God’s glory. It’s a tool that offers great potential and opportunity as long as we’re aware of the dangers.
What other lessons would you suggest?