Category Archives: distance education

Don’t Throw Technology at Your Ministry

I’m still thinking about technology and youth ministry. Part of the reason is that we are working on our upcoming book, Youth Ministry in a Technological Age. Another piece is that I am doing an online course in distance education, which is helping me to think through the implications of a shift to using more technology in youTheology in the future. It is really important that we do this move prayerfully, working to ensure that technology supports our goals and community. We don’t want to be haphazard or careless in our employment of technology. Moreover, our participants have indicated very clearly that the creation and maintenance of community is critical.

An aspect that I’m fascinated with currently is how we use technology to enhance learning. In my blog last Wednesday, I mentioned that if we use technology in a structured learning environment it should be “current, relevant, and well-integrated into the program.” John Palfrey and Urs Gasser in Born Digital also make the point that the issue is the effective use of technology and that technology “should be applied in support of our pedagogy, not for its own sake” (Palrey and Gasser 2008, 247). This says that we do not use technology because it’s there and trendy but because it will undergird our educational philosophy and activities. It raises some questions for us in ministry with high school students:
~~What is ministry?
~~Where is God in our ministry?
~~What is our reason for engaging in this ministry?
~~What is it we seek to teach as part of this ministry?
~~How and why?
~~How could we use technology to further this?

Only after we have answered these questions are we ready to even consider if and how we will use technology in our ministries. Only then are we ready to invest money and avoid using technology for technology’s sake. In other words, we’ll avoid throwing technology at our ministry.
Loving God, Loving Neighbor