Welcome ministers and those of you in ministry who want to better communicate your message in a media-driven culture. The main point of this workshop is that you do not need technical skills to be a skilled communicator in the digital age. Rather you only need to adjust some of your communication skills.
Your talent and your training and experience in ministry have already prepared you for communicating messages which are authentic, powerful, simple and social. These are qualities that can't be delivered by technology; they can only be delivered from a deeper place—a place from which you as a minister already know how to draw.
So the good news is that you already have what it takes to communicate through digital media. The digital age may present a few challenges, but the basics of communication, which you know well, are timeless. Shifting your communication skills to accommodate the special needs of digital consumers is something you are able to do with just a little insight and coaching. Let's get started.
What is the Digital Age?
The digital age has seen the change from mass media to digital media. Digital media has allowed nearly everyone to create mountains of content—we write books, we author blogs, and we produce videos—all for little or no cost. The Internet has allowed us to publish and share all that content—again with little or no cost—giving everyone a voice and making everyone an expert.
All this content has left us somewhat jaded. Because so much stuff is unsubstantiated, we have become cynical; and we yearn for authenticity. Because there are now so many options, we have become generally uncommitted to everything; and we want to know which option is the most powerful. Because life has become so filled with variety and change, we have become confused; and we seek simplicity in our complex world. Because everyone has unlimited access to information, everyone has become an expert and we have become confrontational toward the professional class; and we desire to have a place at the table.
In summary, we have become cynical, uncommitted, confused and confrontational—toward life in general and toward church and ministry in particular. It seems to many that ministers do not have the influence they had 40 years ago. People also seem to less committed to church and ministry. They are less certain in faith issues. And, sorrowfully, we have seen a marked rise in confrontation by lay people toward the church of their upbringing and the ministers who run them. It can be tough to be a minister in these times.
The way forward is to communicate in ways that foster authentic leadership, powerful spirituality, simplicity of message and collaborative ministry. The next four sections elaborate on how to achieve these characterists of effective communication in the digital age.