In this article from CNET News the author highlights how universities are using Web 2.0 technologies like blogs, wikis, social networking, etc to engage prospective students and maybe even help them choose one university over another.
A social-networking environment gets students comfortable with a school well before freshman orientation, said (Jan Day, senior director of client engagement at Blackboard, an educational software company). Prospective students can e-mail roommates, make friends and find out the best campus hangouts even before they accept admission. Some universities use video downloads to introduce professors.
What if church was a place prospective seekers could learn and get comfortable with as well? One of the main goals of the church is reach out and engage the world and tell of the greatest story there is to be told. As our culture changes and adapts to the interests of the next generation, are we as the church adapting as well?
Some see the advent of Web 2.0-style tools in the classroom heralding a shift in everything from education theory to how schools are built. The bottom line: traditional lecturing may be on its way out, said Claire Schooley, an analyst at Forrester Research who follows learning trends at universities and corporations.
That interaction between student and professor is going to become more prominent where you have already read about or watched the lecture online. The days of the large university with a 300-person lecture hall are over,” said Schooley. “Universities will be built very differently, with the concentration on workshop life.
Will the church require seekers and the un-churched / over-churched to be part of the conversation on it’s own terms or will the church go to those Jesus asked us to love and care for with the tools and methods they feel comfortable with? Sharing the Gospel is about building relationships not technology. But if the tools can be used to help build and foster some of those relationships shouldn’t we be using them? Imagine a church service or Christian Education time where instead of passively listening to the preacher, the congregation could participate in a Q&A dialog discussion about the sermon message which they already watched or listened to online before hand.
If a new generation can be reached with new methods and tools with a message that is timeless, shouldn’t the church be equipping and preparing a new breed of missionary to reach them?