The equalizing effect of the internet

The rapid growth of social media platforms and technologies have flattened and democratized the communications environment in ways we are just beginning to comprehend. –Dennis J. Moynihan, U.S. Navy’s Chief of Information1

A friend of mine once asked me why I thought it was the case that so many churches and ministries have failed to adopt a social media strategy. My answer for this, borne out of my deep seated cynicism for what Udo Middleman rightly calls “The Market-Driven Church“, is quite simple: They are afraid of the equalizing effect social media has.

It is all too common to read disparaging comments about bloggers by those who, in times past, would have been insulated from insults by “the common man”. Happily (for some anyway) those days of unequal access to a platform from which to share our opinions with a wide audience are long gone.

Mark Twain once cautioned his readers not to “start a fight with a man who buys his ink in barrels”. It used to be that if you wished to be heard you would start a newspaper. An expensive endeavor to say the least.

Now all we need to do is spend 5 minutes to create a blog on Blogger or WordPress.

True, this equalization brings with it the problem of having our world saturated with frivolous, unhelpful, sub-par, and often downright false information. However I believe Alexis de Tocqueville was right in his assessment that failure to discern good information from bad information is a failure on our part, that free access to “the press” is a net gain.

How much more civil would we be, how much more productive would our conversations be if we thought of every man as having the potential to reach millions overnight with their message?

When it comes to churches and ministries, empires will necessarily be changed. The one man show will likely not fare well. But with God’s grace and guidance, and a little help from a technology that is able to bring and enforce unparalleled equalization among the members of the body, mutual edification and a true ekklesia will once again thrive.

  1. This quote is from a synopsis titled ‘Navy’s social-media handbook is required reading for political campaigners‘. It has been recommended to business as well, and I would also highly recommend this to church businesses. []
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One response to “The equalizing effect of the internet

  1. try reading Deliberate Simplicity by Brown. Christ the king community church in Bellingham washington. He basically says that members determine how they will serve and the church funds that activity. The church body then decides based on giftedness what it will do or won't do. unique but rather promising. pastors care for the body and the body serves as gifted. I can see a church using 'grants' to fund members who can show that they are gifted and can gather people around them who are likeminded. Just a thought as this article does have credible witness as to the leveling of the playing field in all areas of life including church as we know it.

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