Technology & Social Media Are Not The Starting Point

Polaroid camera was once a dominating force in the camera business. Their instant photo camera with the white edges around it made them a recognizable brand as their pictures were hung up all over the rooms of high school teens and photo albums across the country. 

However, in the mid-1990s, with the advent of one-hour color film processing, single-use cameras from competitors, videotape camcorders, and digital cameras Polaroid struggled to keep up. No matter what they tried to do, nothing seemed to stick.

They even tried to reinvent themselves a few years ago with Fotobars. However that didn't change much and Polaroid went through years of Bankruptcy filings.

Today, even though you can still find Polaroid cameras and film, it is a shell of what it once was.

What are you getting at Tom?  What’s the point?

As churches and ministries seek to adapt to changing styles and interests of young people, one knee jerk reaction seems to always go to technology and social media.

 For instance, the problem with you not reaching more of the younger generations is “probably" be because you feel that your website is old and dull so you need to make it edgier. Or, you feel you aren’t really active on social media so you need to start to doing more funny things on Facebook or other social media platforms to gain attention.

While those things may be necessary action steps to take, the reality is that you should not be looking at technology as the first, knee jerk reaction step to take.

Technology can help and will be a really great tool for you to use to reach the next generation. But it should not be your FIRST step. 

Rather, your first step needs to be more of a focus on the mission and vision of your Church and how that overall plan works to reach the next generation. I’m not a church consultant in any way, but the issues of your church not reaching a particular group of people or the younger generation has less to do with technology and more to do with how your church is functioning. 

Dig deep and ask tough questions as you evaluate your church and your mission.  Look at how you are viewing young adults today. Do you treat them with respect or as young “hooligans” who don’t get it?  Do you actively listen to their needs and desires?  Are you meeting the needs of the community you are located? Do you even know the needs of the community you are in? Are your messages relevant to where they are in life?  

Those are some of the questions you need to ask first. Now, I’m not encouraging you to change your principles and core beliefs…those should not change. But, as you seek to be a relevant part of the community you are in, reaching young adults today goes far beyond adding a funny video or great Pro Presenter worship theme.

The more effective you can be at knowing and understanding the needs of your community, the more likely are you going to be able to reach them.  

But only after you know THAT will you be able to know how you can use technology as a tool to reach them.

What do you think? 


Tom has a background in Student Ministry working over 17 years with teenagers and currently serves as the Student Ministry and Online Campus Pastor at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA.

Tom started YMSidekick.com back in 2007 (under “Not a Mega Church” branding) with the purpose to help ministry leaders do ministry more effectively. Tom writes, create videos and podcast weekly. In addition to the work he does at YMSidekick.com, Tom blogs regularly forOrange Leaders and is an official Orange Blogger. Follow Tom on Twitter @tapounder