By Not Known
This is a day of instant communication. Within minutes of an event happening anywhere, SMS, email and Internet carry text and visual reports all over the world. We call it ‘Information Technology‘ but it is more ‘Communications Technology‘. But, how much of our communications is empty, repetitive or banal? We have the medium but not the message.
The early Christians had little by the way of communications technology. Many messages were passed from mouth to ear, documents were read aloud rather than been scanned and cc’ed, and hard copies moved by foot or donkey. The early preachers were not impressive speakers (Acts 2:7; 1 Cor 1:26- 27). However, these people did have something to say. They had the message, if not the medium.
Paul’s words are instructive: For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (1 Cor 1: 17)
Paul is not saying that Christian communication should be deliberately poor. Rather, he is distancing himself from popular speakers of his day who used rhetorical tricks to lure people in, but who really had nothing worthwhile to say (2 Cor 4: 2- 5). Paul is an effective communicator, but his focus is always on the message. And his message is always Jesus. This is the same message as other NT writers and preachers.
What does this mean for us?
It is right to use the technology available to us – for it is a neutral tool that can be used for God's good as well as for evil. Further, each new generation is best 'spoken to' by the media of their day. If we want today's people to listen to our message, we must communicate using the media they are comfortable with. Specifically, that means more use of the screen and 'byte-sized‘ information in church nowadays. And this means that those of us who are slightly older than others must be adaptive and patient.
However, let’s never confuse message and media. Let’s not use media in a way that puts attention on ‘how‘ we communicate instead of the ‘what‘. Let’s keep our attention on Jesus, for he is the ‘who‘ that is the ‘what‘ of our faith and our message to the world (Heb 12: 2)