Recap: The Language of Participatory Church

January 5, 2012

by — Posted in Blog, emerging church, Ideas, New Media, Portfolio, Technology

I’ve been working full-time on the Web (in one shape or form) for over a decade now, and it’s been fun to watch the language of it evolve from “interactive” to “multimedia” to “Web 2.0” to “social media.” The radical shifts in culture that have taken place because of the Internet have been astounding.

At the same time, there’s been a similar shaking going on in Christianity, and I’ve noticed a similar evolution of language for what to call this too — from “alternative church” to “alternative worship” to “ancient-future worship” to “emerging church” to “missional church” and now “missional community formation.”

I predict the conversation about tech lingo will continue to parallel — and deeply inform — the conversation about Christianity and church (how we organize ourselves into religious/faith communities), just as the revolution sparked by the evolution of the Internet is re-making other sectors of society, such as education, journalism, and publishing.

Religious Professionals = Social Media Gurus?
One example of how this is playing out that I find really fascinating is that many of the thought leaders and practitioners of the emerging missional church movement are now operating as social media consultants. I include myself in this category to some degree, but also friends such as Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt (who collaborate on Social Phonics), Kimberly Knight (no relation, except in Spirit!), Adam Walker Cleaveland, and Bruce Reyes-Chow, just to name a few.

Even my Emergent friends who don’t “do this for a living” are still very tech-savvy and heavy users of social media, and so the two topics naturally overlap in many ways.

Here’s a quick look back over the series on the language of participatory church: curation, context, frictionless sharing, and ROI.

As you look over what’s been talked about, what do you see that’s missing? What other social media terms have emerging church parallels? What additional topics could (and should) be explored in this language series?

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