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About the Reviewer: Steve Sobczak serves as an Officer Christian Fellowship Community group leader in San Antonio Texas. He has led small groups in Louisiana, Germany and Texas for the past 8 years.  He also serves in the US Army as a career Army Officer with over 25 years of experience. His group is currently studying the Attributes of God and are becoming involved with supporting a local Family Homeless Shelter.

 

Title: Telling the Story

Author: Stanley J. Hargraves

Publisher/Copyright: Smyth & Helwys, 2010

 

About the Book:  

The church has an ancient story to tell, a story that has come down through the ages. We may tell different versions of the story, but the underlying theme is the same: God has broken into human history to share with humanity an invitation to relationship. From the advent of the printing press, to musical instruments, to modern church buildings with LCD projectors and computers, the church has adapted the means of communicating the gospel to the changing times. Adapting that message to the available technology and language helps the church reach out in meaningful ways to people around the world.

 

Reviewer Observations:

Technology has impacted the Church and the world in many ways, some of which are still not yet clear or totally understood. Specifically related to the internet culture, blogs from great Christian writers and thinkers are pervasive and found side by side with blogs written by Muslims, Buddhists, and other non-Christians. This means that Christians are exposed to a myriad of worldviews and religious convictions.

However, some obvious benefits can also be seen. Technology allows and enables the interaction of people from across the globe in seconds…a feat that was unthinkable 20 years ago. When we actually stop to consider the current technological landscape, we have reason to be excited! Instead of fearing technology, we should rejoice at having another tool at our disposal to do the work of God. The Church is called to go…technology is one of the tools that enable this process. The Church must go out to where the people are; just as Moses could not call the Israelites out of captivity from the mountains in Midian, so the Church cannot communicate to the world from inside its walls. The trend of social networking shows that people want to be in relationship. People still need and want community. The internet provides a tool to be able to reach people where they are at, and connect with them on a level that they understand.

The Daily Audio Bible is a great example of the internet being used as a tool to support people’s exposure to Scripture and their connection with other Christians. The Daily Audio Bible is an Online Community of faith where Brian Hardin reads through the Bible each day online. The community can download the podcast and listen on an IPOD the readings for each day. The community website also features call-in prayer requests and chat rooms where people can encourage one another.  The technology affords the opportunity for anyone with web access to download or listen.  This community also offers the Bible read in Japanese, Spanish, Hindi and Arabic as well as for kids.  This would have been hard to imagine 20 years ago.  Through it all, we still need community.

 

Quotes:

 

"Communication and technology are a means toward the end of telling the world about the Grace of God manifest in Christ.  Adapting that message to the available technology and language helps the church reach out in meaningful ways around the world."

 

"People are online daily for work, school, email, investments and other reasons, The internet is a world where the Church can be a real presence in peoples lives."

 

"The Church can reach people in the virtual world.  We are called to be where people are in the virtual world, just as surely as we are called to be where they are in the physical world. "

 

"The Church's website must be maintained ... why would anyone want to attend a church where the information is outdated?

 

"Use text messages to remind people that they are loved."

 

"Use church people to write a testimony or a devotion"

 

Recommended Use: This book is for Pastors, Leaders, and Missionaries with a technology aptitude, Church communicators

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