The limits of technology (for mission)

In the last 4 days, I have come to the understanding that modern technology is just not as good as it claims to be – especially when it comes to building relationships. Don’t get me wrong, I love using facebook and twitter and skype to keep in touch with people. I even use that social media to do work – keeping connected with colleagues and mission partners around the world.

On Thursday morning, Pastor Maish from Lifespring Chapel, Nairobi landed in Sydney Australia.  For the past few years we’ve exchanged emails, sat in business meetings, and we’ve even signed contracts on the understanding that our churches would work together for God’s kingdom – work that represents about $220 000 in funding in 2011.  However, his physical arrival helped me understand two key things:

  1. Social media primarily operates on the easy transfer of information.  We can so easily share snippets of information but fail to share our lives.  I am the first to admit that relationships do require information. However, they need so much more to flourish.
  2. Relationships require the sharing of life. Part of the problem is that we are working together but our ministry fields are separated by 20 hours air travel. And even though we can transfer information easily through modern technology, we must work hard at being physically near one another to share our lives: sitting in traffic together; laughing together as we ate exotic foods; debating the merits of different mission strategies; seeing each other’s passion and conviction to serve Christ; Maish even seeing how messy my house was! I guess if we were to have a bible verse, it would be 1 Thessalonians 2:8

We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

Over the last 4 days, without sounding too clichéd, I have lost a work connection and gained a friend and partner for Christ’s mission.

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