I finished a book recently called The New Media Frontier. The book serves both as a primer on the use of internet technology for churches and ministry, but also as a collection of thoughts looking to the present and future to discuss ways in which churches, ministries, and missions have been and will be shaped by the use of technology.
The first section of the book focuses on the ‘primer’ element. The contributors offer overview and reflections on ‘new media’ and the church, as well as beginner’s guides to using blogs and other web technologies (video, podcasts, etc.) in a ministry setting. Much of this basic information was presented with few assumptions, and for those who aren’t tech-savvy it could be a great resource to understand the “hows and whys” of new technology and media.
The discussions in the second half move beyond the basics into discussions of how new media has, can, and will affect churches, pastors, and ministries in the coming years. These chapters range from discussions of ‘cyber communities’ centered around blogs, using new media in teaching situations, seeing Facebook as a tool for pastoral counseling, and how new media will shape the church’s forays into issues like bioethics and social justice.
I appreciated the discussion that is represented in The New Media Frontier. It felt odd to read these thoughts on pages, because so many of them seemed like conversations that would be at home on blogs and websites – and many of them probably started out that way. In this sense, the book represents a particular moment in time – a moment when many churches have begun to consider how technology affects their ministry but have not yet fully embrace the opportunities provided by new media. This book can be a great resource for those who have yet to commit to the possibilities presented by new technologies and a launching point for conversations about how they will allow the new media frontier to shape the future of their ministries.