Friday, November 23, 2012

“SMART” Gospel - Part 1 of 2

Summary – With the +1 billion proliferation of smartphones and tablets worldwide, the digital gospel horizon is a new and expanding landscape to reach, influence and transform lives through Jesus. While the message of Jesus is the same, smart mobile methodology is transformational, needing a new paradigm on connecting, communicating, disciple making.

Perhaps you’ve been sort of suspicious of it till now. Maybe you have closed your eyes to it, hoping that it will pass like a fast moving thunderstorm; somehow passing by without disrupting or destroying your home, car, property, life. I’m certain that you’ve encountered interruption to Sunday morning worship, sermons and prayers from them. No matter your thoughts, perspective or concerns, smart mobile devices are coming like a freight train and there is no ducking the issue.

Here are some critical findings presented at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2012 in Barcelona, Spain[1];
  • Worldwide sales of smartphones and tablets will soar past the 1 billion-unit threshold in 2013
  • Global sales of tablets and smartphones will total 821 million units this year, then jump nearly 50%, to 1.2 billion, in 2013
  • Smart devices will account for 70% of all mobile device sales next year
  • By 2016, 40% of the workforce will be mobile
  • Tablet sales to businesses more than tripling from 13 million this year to 53 million in 2016

We cannot ignore this tsunami of technology as it sweeps over our culture. For Jesus followers and leaders within his church, we cannot hide or ignore this systemic change that is upon us and the entire world. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we must embrace it in a profound way that alters the way we live, share Christ, preach, disciple and influence our culture. There is a potential to multiply our reach and reinvent the way that we connect with our culture and church, but it will require a transformation that will be uncomfortable and even painful.

Yes, we need to tell the “old, old story”[2] but we need to get out in front of our family, neighbors, friends and culture with a “story” in words, deeds, ideas and through a medium that is understandable and accessible. Just as print, the Industrial Revolution and PC’s had a profound impact, the swarm of mobile smart devices promises to transform our culture in new and sometimes disrupting ways.

Please understand that I am violently supportive of the body of Christ and its local expressions as outlined in Scripture[3]. One of my favorite, practical outlines of what the church looks like is found in Mark Driscoll’s “8 Biblical Marks of a True Church[4].

I am not advocating;
  • abandoning people for a podcast
  • leaving the local church for a live webcast
  • evangelism and discipleship strictly from the confines of your keyboard
  • individuals baptizing themselves alone in a hot tub at home while broadcasting to the church from their webcam

What I am advocating with every fiber of my being is for individual Christians, churches and organizations to leverage this technology and connect with as many people as possible to spread the good news of Jesus as God, our savior and our only hope.

Next week – three application themes to pray, chew-on and move forward with.
Blessings – Chet

Chet Gladkowski speaks and writes on topics that touch on culture, life and faith through GLAD Associates. This article is taken from a chapter in his upcoming book.

[1] http://www.journalofaccountancy.comGartner: Android, Apple to spark surge in smart device sales, By Jeff Drew, November 6, 2012

[2] Tell Me The Old, Old Story, Words: A. Katherine Hankey 1866, Music: W. Howard Doane 1867
[3] Matthew 16:18, John 3:16; Romans 16:5, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 1:22-23, 3:10-11, 5:23-30, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 1:1-2, Colossians 1:18-24, 1 Timothy 3:15, 2 Timothy 3:16, 17, James 1:5

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