I read this morning an interesting newsletter that spoke about the coming and present new church world.  This wasn’t some new age hocus pocus; but it encapsulated a discussion about what the church may look like should we move past buildings and props into an ever-increasing  internet world of learning and relationships. 

No one can deny that our youth no longer communicate as we once did.  However, texting and Twittering isn’t limited to teens and college students.  During the staff meeting at 100-year-old First Church, the associate pastor sent everyone a text message because she was at a conference in another state.  Her purpose was to touch base with all the staff even though she could not be there.  She wanted everyone to know that she was available during that time should she be needed.  The senior pastor does the same thing when he is on vacation.

While all this may seem pretty reasonable to everyone with an average IQ, this scenario appears to completely eliminate people who are not able to read or manipulate a key board.  Ninety-nine percent of my members will never be able to text.  Two out of 150 of my members are on Facebook.  I know of none of  the Vero or Melbourne members who have e-mail addresses. 

Two years ago, I felt that it was important that young people understand that there are ministries in the world that evangelize and disciple people who are mentally challenged.  When I started a blog, I felt it was a commitment that could have far-reaching effects.  Yet, I knew that it would not and could not be geared to our members.  Later, I started a blog for people who are mentally challenged.  In the year and a half that it has been functioning, it has received only 638 hits.  And most of those people wanted to read the poetry and they we not developmentally delayed.  In contrast, this blog has received to date 38,664 hits.  Yes, that number is a trival amount compared to most blogs but the contrast between our two blogs is shocking. 

If our members aren’t Internet savvy, do these changes in how we, the church, interacts with each other impact ministry to mentally challenged persons?  Perhaps not.  However, there is a good chance that an even greater divide may appear between our members and the local church membership.  For those ministries who believe that our support should could from the local church, it could have a large impact in our funding. 

What do you think?  Will our ministries change?  How would you envision these changes?

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