Just read this: Face the Nation Google+ Hangout: Digital Outreach at a Crossroad

from Christian Media 2.0 http://www.gordonmarcy.com/2012/04/face-the-nation-google-hangout-digital-outreach-at-a-crossroad/

At 1:00 p.m. on Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday), I watched a video chat that felt to me like a big moment for digital outreach.

This wasn’t just any chat.

It was the inaugural Face the Nation Google+ Hangout, the first in a series of events in the groundbreaking new partnership between CBS News and Google.

In recognition of holy week for both Judaism and Christianity, the discussion was dedicated to religion in the internet age.

Anchor Bob Schieffer sat down to talk with Jason Illian, CEO of Rethink Books, Bobby Gruenewald, Innovation Leader at LifeChurch.TV, Rabbis Laura Baum and Robert Barr of OurJewishCommunity.org and Sarah Pulliam Bailey, the online editor at Christianity Today.

Watch the full Hangout

A few highlights:

Rabbi Laura Baum: Many Jews weren’t walking into synagogue, so the Internet was a way to bring Judaism to people where they are.

Rabbi Robert Barr: People who may have dropped out of the Jewish community or felt like they were pushed out have happened upon us. Our reach is growing down the street and around the world.

Jason Illian: Technology is allowing us to engage people in what they believe, and then to challenge them to take what we’re talking about in church or synagogue and enact positive change in the lives of others.

Sarah Pulliam: Instead of building bigger buildings, megachurches are streaming sermons to their congregations.

Bobby Gruenewald: We feel like it is a unique time in history. With these amazing new tools, we have to do what we can to connect with people.

The conversation continued around the benefits and dangers of combining digital communication technologies with religious activity and faith:

Can online outreach efforts be measured? Is it ok for online communities to not attend a physical church? Are online churches helping or hurting the pastoral nature of the clergy? What impact is online anonymity having on relationships, public discourse, and engagement in politics? Is there a danger of seeing a new generation of celebrity pastors? Will online church communities be the demise of brick and mortar institutions?

The new religious broadcasters

Whatever one may think about church online or the internet campus, after watching the Hangout, one thing is certain: Digital outreach and a multitude of innovating Netcasters have thrust the Church into the internet age.

The aggressive use of the internet and social media by churches has changed the nature of electronic religious media, opened it up to thousands of organizations and millions of people. The Church is still grappling with it.

As much as one may like to have more breathing room to consider the effects of all this change, the luxury of time doesn’t seem to have been granted.

While many are still on the sidelines, looking for a theological justification to do online outreach, others are executing creative strategies to advance their cause.

It was amazing to hear Christian and Jewish leaders on the panel agree – people are being reached online that would otherwise have never been reached and lives are being transformed as a result.

A new direction

The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.
(Daniel 11:32)

Trends in the syndication and audiences of digital outreach, especially with online video, are moving in a new direction

The first Face the Nation Google+ Hangout bringing worldwide attention to and evaluating the recent trends and achievements indicates that the Internet and social media must be taken seriously as tools to carry out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

Digital outreach is at a crossroads. As one panelist implied, leveraging technology isn’t just an opportunity; it is a responsibility to use these tools for the cause of Christ.

New beginnings and directions take God’s wisdom and courage.

from Christian Media 2.0 http://www.gordonmarcy.com/2012/04/face-the-nation-google-hangout-digital-outreach-at-a-crossroad/

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow!! Google+ Hangout is working out deeply. I have no doubts with that because it is indeed an excellent feature of Google+. Aside from doing business, it is now used religiously…now that’s something new.

    1. You can also check out how Google+ Hangout helped me in my business. http://bit.ly/S4U33t

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