Thinking Out Loud

August 8, 2011

Counting the Online Cost

When it comes to the local church, I may critique things from time to time, but I want you to know that I’m a huge cheerleader for what can be accomplished through local assemblies and congregations.  But the fact remains: There are some things we are not doing well. When Jesus talked about “counting the cost” in Luke…

14:28(NIV) “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?

…the context seems to be financial costs and physical buildings.  (The larger context is about measuring the cost of being His disciple before jumping in.)  But today we don’t expend energy so much on capital projects and physical construction as we do on virtual construction. For local churches, the online world is a vast landscape with huge potential.

But which of you — as Jesus might say it — when starting a church blog, a church Facebook page, or a church website, sits down and counts the cost and realize that you’ve got to maintain the thing?  Why are so many church blogs, Facebook pages and websites abandoned before much time has passed?  Why is it so easy to start something, but so hard to do the relatively boring work of maintaining something?

At the right hand sidebar to this blog is a blogroll and website index that was a rather massive project.  But once it was done, the real work began.  I check those listings on a fairly regular basis; sites are dropped, blogs are added and sometimes the description you see when you hover your mouse over the link has to be rewritten because the writer’s focus has change or the description has become outdated.  It’s a chore.  It’s a pain.  But I decided going in that it was going to take some effort, but it would be worth doing well.   I encourage you to check out some of the links there.  And let me know if any of the links don’t work.

Another lifetime ago, I dabbled in what was then called electronic music.  Synthesizers and the like.  There was a rule in electronic music that I’ve learned applies to so many other things in life:

Every parameter you can control, you must control.

As a Christ-follower, I believe our commitment to excellence means that our “face” on the internet is well maintained and updated.  And that means calling your church if they’re doing a poor job of it.  (You may find you just volunteered for something, though; so be careful!)  I believe that if Jesus were restating what we know as Luke 14:28 today, he might well have used a website or a Facebook page as an example of dedication. 

At least it’s an analogy people would understand. 

…So, while we’re at this, how is your Christian life going? Is it well-tuned and humming along, or is it like a webpage or a blog that someone started and then abandoned?  Monday is a great day for rededication.

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