Unintended Consequence of Technology in Christian Ministries

Video Formats

streaming video formats

Unintended Consequences. The year was 1945. The month was February. The Big Three (President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Josef Stalin) met at the Black Sea resort of Yalta. President Roosevelt would enlist the support of Salin’s Russia to fight the Japanese (which never really happened) while many concessions would be given to Russia in the process. A result of those concessions would be the Cold War. One of the covert operations during the Cold War was the CIA’s arming of fundamentalist groups (the most notable of these groups being Al-Qaeda) to oust the Russians occupying Afghanistan. Over two decades and many attacks (most notably 9/11) later, we are fighting the very group we armed as our secret ally.

We all know that decisions have consequences. Whether it’s catching a late-night show and dealing with the exhaustion the following day or procrastinating on a project and accepting the accompanying stress or lower quality output, each decision has an associated consequence.

YouTube or Vimeo. Visuals are in. The best way to communication is through the medium of video, but hosting your own video can also be a daunting task. Because of this, many ministries default to a video sharing website such as: YouTube or Vimeo.  Is this a wise solution? Allow me to illustrate. The other day Bro. Esposito gave a perfect example of using or distributing YouTube videos. He received a link to a YouTube video about a topic that he was interested in. (I should also mention that he received it from a preacher and that the video was of another preacher.) He noticed in the related videos section a pornographic video. I wonder how many of our members have been confronted with that temptation because of us.

Skits. Teenagers can be a difficult group to work with. They are so media orientated that sometimes it can be hard to relate or keep their attention. Because of this difficulty, we have looked to what our teenagers watch for solutions. I have watched many skits and youth conference themes over the past few years and it is amazing how much they look like the world. If we are going to preach against the world and its things, is it wise to flavor our fun and activities worldly?

Technology is wonderful. I love to deploy new technology and watch its usefulness save time and money and help people. If we are not careful, we can also allow technology to be an unholy hindrance to our members.

(This article is also posted at PacificPublications.)

Five Ways to Keep Your Kids Safer When Socializing

child

Internet Access

About two weeks ago my anti-virus program e-mailed this. I thought it was rather interesting. To bad most parents probably don’t do it.

1) Talk with them about what they do online. Check out their social websites (and any personal profiles they’ve posted)—and set up your own account and profile on those sites. Also, familiarize yourself with the latest Internet trends.

2) Establish clear ground rules. Limit the amount of them [sic] they’re allowed to spend online. Discuss what should never be shared with others: passwords, phone numbers, full names, addresses, where they go to school, etc.

3) Keep tabs on their online messages. Make sure their communications are appropriate, including instant messages, e-mail, and e-mail attachments.

4) Encourage your child to ask for help. Tell them to trust their instinct if anything seems “off” (inappropriate photos, being bullied, or someone asking to meet offline)—and to let you know immediately.

5) Stress that nothing on the Internet is ever private. Whatever they post online is out there for anyone to see (even on a page labeled “private”). Even something e-mailed to one person can then be forwarded to thousands more.

The Next Bubble to Burst

Bubble Burst

Bubble Burst

Now Investment guru Warren Buffett is catching up with Peter Schiff and Ron Paul.

Read the istockanalyst article.

Should Christian Ministries Tweet?

Twitter

Twitter

Everyone is tweeting these days. The White House, Dr. Jack Schaap, Dr. Paul Chappell, Dr. Eric Capaci, and many, many others are tweeting. The odds are that your favorite ministry or preacher probably has a Twitter account. In this post you will not hear any blasting of people or ministries. What you will read is should ministries tweet?

Before we answer the question allow me to lay a foundation. Allow me to ask a different question. Should teenagers or young people tweet? My answer to this is a simple, no. Let me show you why. When talking about Twitter we should keep in mind that it is a social networking site. Let’s see somethings on general social networking sites.

The Inherent Dangers of Social Networking Sites

  • Our teens can be wasting valuable time.
  • Our teens can start relationships with people whom we do not know and whom we would not want them to know.
  • Our teens can and will be tempted to say things online that they would never say face-to-face.
  • Our teens can be solicited by on-line predators.
  • Our teens can have their privacy invaded.
  • Our teens can continue relationships with old friends that they may need to be separated from.
  • Our teens can find themselves entering a whole new “dark” world of temptations, which they may find very difficult to navigate.

Allow me to point out something related to the last point above. Bro. Esposito gave a perfect illustration in a message about social networking. He mentioned that a preacher friend invited him to join Twitter because a national known preacher had a Twitter account. Bro. Esposito joined and forgot about his account. A few days later he received an e-mail saying that someone was following him. He was very suspicious, but clicked through to see who it was. He found out that it was a young woman scantily dressed. He immediately deleted his account not wanting the temptation to click through anyone similar to this young woman.

The sad fact is that “people you follow do not have to follow you or give you permission to follow them. You just sign up and start following them. It’s a bit like stalking.” Let’s say you get a message that someone is following you and you don’t know them. There is always the temptation to click through to see exactly who it is. There is always a possibility that this person posts pornographic links or other unacceptable links. With the advent of tiny urls and the like, you would never know what the site was until the website loaded up. In summary, pornography and raunchy material can be easier to stumble upon in twitter then most places on the web.

Since it is very dangerous for young people to have a Twitter account. Should ministries or preachers tweet? As humans we always look for ways to justify our actions. How many parents have had to confront their children about something and the excuse was “they were doing it.” I wonder how many people made a foolish decision or sinful choice and justified it because someone they knew who was respected did it.

We should also remember that what leaders do in moderation today their followers will do in excess tomorrow. Is it possible that we might, by using a social networking site for good and godly purposes become a stumbling block for the next generation who may not have the character to control the inherent dangers of the site?

Should ministries or preachers tweet?

We should all prayerfully consider whether or not God would have us to be tweeting!

(This article is also posted at Pacific Publications.)