The Generational Disconnect of Social Media in the Church

Yesterday afternoon I was lucky enough to hear Pastor Erik Parker give a brief workshop on Social Media in the Church. Pastor Erik is a few years younger than me and arguably part of the Millennial Generation and he’s been a Pastor within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada for five years. And, he gets it.

Now, I am not exactly a millennial. I am either a very young member of Generation-X or one of the Pre-Millennial. Either way I don’t fall into the definition usually given. 1980 is a year that slips through the cracks. However, when it comes to Social Media and the Church I am pretty certain that I get it.

While Pastor Erik was giving his workshop myself and several other local Anglicans were live-tweeting. This included The Rev’ds Robyn Barnes, Stephen London and¬†Scott Sharman, and the Ven. Christopher Pappas. It also included The Rev. Scott Gunn who was attending the conference as a representative of Forward Movement. Now, Robyn is a¬†Millennial, while Chris and Scott are Gen-Xers and Scott is with me as being in the twilight zone between. They get it. They get it very well.

However, during the workshop it was apparent there were a lot of attendees who didn’t get it. And, not to beat around the bush the vast majority of those were in the generation called the Baby Boomers.

Now, you will have undoubtedly noticed until now that I have been taking about it without saying what it really is. It is very simple: For the Church to survive and grow in the modern, western world it needs to embrace using Social Media to spread the Gospel and to build up the Church, the Body of Christ.

And I love it when I see people get it. I love to see people like Pastor Erik who takes in on front and centre. I like to see people like Robyn Barnes who posts all her sermons online and loves to connect to others via Twitter. I love the fact that Scott Gunn, who runs a Church publishing company, got that company out of being print only and started focusing on online materials and other devotionals such as Lent Madness (Tim Schenck did come up with it though). And I am only naming some of the people who were in the auditorium.

However, the reaction I saw by the Boomers who chose to attend was worrisome; They are very skeptical of using Social Media. They are even more worried about using Social Media in the Church. Now, there were some Boomers who were not as skeptical at all and have embraced it. Sadly, they were not in the majority.

Now, many of the concerns of the Boomers are unwarranted. This includes concerns like offending people if a particular post/message was not worded correctly and misunderstood. This happens all the time. If you are using Social Media you are going to screw up on it from time to time. Guess what: You are going to do that in-person missionary work as well.

Without going into too much politics those of us in Generation X and younger have two courses of action: Convince the Boomers they are wrong and go full steam with using social media to make things for the better. Or, go full steam with using social media to make things for the better without convincing the boomers and say we were right all along. I sadly think after my experiences today that later option will be one taking shape. Which is really sad because as a Church we should be united in moving forward.

Anyhow, those are my raging thoughts.

2 thoughts on “The Generational Disconnect of Social Media in the Church

  1. As a baby boomer -what would you like from me? I follow George T Dog on Twitter, I interact with the Archbishops of LM fame. I post photos on Instagram- some of my church. I’m trying. Have mercy comrade- you will be the older generation one day too.

    1. Gale,

      Sadly it would appear you are in a minority of baby-boomers. I can only hope those Boomers that are in positions of authority in the Church can realize what an incredible means of evangelization they have at their disposal less the Church sink even more.

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