I’m still chewing over this question of how we communicate. I’m not letting you be my on-line friend, there’s stuff on there I don’t want my pastor to see!
Have we really replaced real friendships with cyber ones? Do we now live in different realities?
If this is where people’s social networking is leading, what’s the communication challenge for a church that wants to be relevant to its culture with a message of transforming hope found through relationship? How relevant is what we sing on a Sunday, what we preach from our pulpit to real lives, real issues, competing realities? How loud does our message speak when competing with the flashing lights and instant access of multi-media Britain? In a world of email, web access, social networking, Freeview and DVD’s, do we really communicate effectively? Or do we lose the body language, the eye contact and meaning that taking the time to sit and chat speaks?
Someone challenged me recently with how I communicate, the way I say things, and how who I am and what I really think can get lost in my choice of words. How often do our heart and motives get lost because of the way we say something?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
So I have got to thinking about what we say and how we say it. And this has left me pondering how story plays such a large part in communicating effectively. Story seems to have played such a place through history in preserving heritage, truth, community – from the aborigine round the fire to the grandfather with his grandkids. Even the Bible uses narrative to tell the story of God with man. How many of us can remember what was said in the training session or business meeting last week, or the sermon on Sunday? Yet how many of us can remember the story our friend told us over a brew six-months ago?
So I tried something different last Sunday, and used story to communicate the message of the prodigal son. With Back to Church Sunday looming on 27th September, I wanted to communicate how our feelings and perspectives affect us all over the question of “coming back”, finding a “second chance”. So I told 3 stories from 3 perspectives, and posed one question – who do you identify with? And all in 15 minutes!!! And so far, the feedback has been really encouraging, much greater than I normally get when I preach “normally”.
If we want to communicate effectively, maybe we need to experiment with different forms, and not be afraid to carry a tool belt with us, selecting the right tool for the right situation rather than persevering with the same old-same old single method of communication. Perhaps if we are willing to take risks, and break through cyber friendships to making time for real life then this amazing message of hope, love and second chances might shout louder and more clearly?
Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved. Matthew 9:17