Signs of the Digital Time

The gospel was designed to be accessible to everyone. It is not elitist. It is why the New Testament was written in street Greek and not classical Greek. Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel, Jesus said. The gospel is a mass communication programme.

When we use “Christianese” on our billboards and adverts, we alienate the world. They don’t understand our language! Christianese are Christian technical terms accessible to only initiates. So many “fire” and “power” programmes. We seem to have lost the ability to speak in ordinary language. We’re not communicating, just doing our thing!

Because the gospel is open source there are of course bastardizations. We’ve all seen those funny billboards that make the gospel look like commercial snake oil formula. Despite these bastardizations, the integrity of the gospel source code remains intact. It cannot be corrupted.

The gospel is sublime in simplicity. We must not edit it into complexity.

We must stick to the simplicity of the gospel, not adding hoops of moral conditionalities for those who want God.

In conception the gospel is contextual and relevant. It is called the good news for reason. It is anomalous when the unit breakdown of the gospel is not relatable to people’s circumstances. We run the risk of generational disconnect thus. We must focus on addressing the issues of this generation. To reach the young we must use appropriate media. Media must be matched to demographic base.

Majority of young people are on social media. And the primary sociological technology is the mobile phone. The gospel must fit into the phone. Advances in technology are dispensational moves of God. The printing press was a major advancement in technology. It was dispensational. The Bible as we ordinarily know it was thus made possible. The printing press democratized the gospel.

But the Word of God is not a book. It is a personage. The Word is transcendent. The book we ordinarily call the Bible is just a medium of articulation. It is not the Word of God. Jesus is. (John.1:1). We now access the literary articulation of the word of God virtually – on tablets, electronic and mobile devices. And so goes out of the window the injunction not to bring the phone into church. The Bible is now on phones! And we see how technological advances determine liturgical culture.

Advances in technology signify God’s determination and plans. The Church cannot be resistant to technology. Perhaps the defining “word” for this era is Psalm 68:11: “The Lord gives the word, the people who bear and publish the news are a great host.” And so as the pastor preaches, thousands publish… through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other platforms. In the age of social media we’re all broadcasters and publishers of the gospel. That’s God’s plan for ministry. This is God’s crowd sourcing strategy to push the gospel in the 21st century. It’s the greatest move to date.

This the generation of publishers and broadcasters of the gospel. Through social media they will take the gospel to the corners of the globe. God has crashed the cost of evangelism. It should therefore come as a surprise that some churches ban youths from Twitter and other social media platforms. But that’s where their generation congregate. It’s their socializing platform. And it’s their evangelism platform.

The problem is not the technology. The problem is content. Let the Church create cultural content. The Church must master social media. Sermons don’t automatically translate on Twitter. They must be adapted. And the pastor must be tolerant of challenge, dissent, and even insult on social media. They insulted Jesus too, and he wasn’t on Twitter! Twitter is not the problem.

Our liturgical practices must take a dispensational cue from social media – the immediacy and responsiveness. Services must deviate from the old order of unidirectional ministration. Q&A makes it two-way. Perhaps through tweets! The new order is Engagement. We must engage this generation to get to the heart of their issues.

What are those issues?

They want insight into mysteries – esoterism. Yet, no book espouses esoterism like the Bible. Think angels and demons.

This generation wants to succeed, early. They want to take their future into their hands, make a difference in their world.

They want to express themselves through culture – music, fashion, modelling, art, drama, media… Beyond limits.

They want to create technological solutions to the emergent needs of society, to facilitate new sociology.

They want directness in discussions about sex and relationships. No bobbing and weaving.

They want to share their challenges with someone not condemnatory, but who will say it as it is.

But the Church wants to do marital counselling without addressing issues of boyfriend-girlfriend relationship! By the time the counselling comes around, mistake of choice would have been made. And other mistakes too. Perhaps we need to take another look at how we deal with the mistakes of youth. If we kick out from church the young woman who takes in out of wedlock, where then should she go?! That is not to say pastors must condone sin, but there must be a way to deal with sin without damning the sinner.

Perhaps the time has come for us to re-evaluate “Singles Fellowship”. Even the name! We must be clear on the primary objective and format: Is it a socializing platform, or a sermonizing platform?

As for regimental regulation of relationship, it will not solve the morality challenge. Creates sociological problems! And regimentalism breeds religious robots, kills imagination in the young. Aren’t we over-regulating?

May the God we serve grant us an understanding of the times.


If you’ll like to give your life to Christ please pray this prayer: Father I come to you in the name of Jesus. I know that I am a sinner. That Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. I accept him today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen!

© Leke Alder |