Friday, December 21, 2007

Could It Really Be This Simple?

I have contended for a long time that the Missouri Baptist Convention does not communicate effectively with the Pastors and Churches of the MBC.

This has been true for years and is still true.

The MoBaptistList, while we admit it is a rabble-rousing, wide open and almost unmoderated free-for-all, serves as the "only" technologically based public space where any and all Missouri Baptists can express themselves candidly and honestly.

To me this is just another example of how the MBC - the Bureaucracy - is out of touch.

Let me list a few new words and phrases that have come into our vocabulary in the last few years that apparently haven't impacted the executive board or the exec. bd. staff.

Facebook
Myspace
gmail
text messaging
internet polling
iPhone

All of this is about the networking of people together using technology.

Some practical applications.

Assign every Missouri Baptist pastor in the state a gmail address. He doesn't have to activate it. He doesn't even have to use it. But if I'm sitting at 400 East High and want to get my official message out about anything this is where I send it - an email to every pastor in the state via his gmail account.

You send one letter to every pastor in the state outlining how the process is going to work and from then on you stick to the plan and go virtually paperless.

What about the pastors who don't have computers? That's up to them. This is the 21st century! But every DOM knows who does and doen't have email in his association. He can call or print and mail the communication to the computerless pastor if it is critical information.

Maybe some emails coming from the EB or Exec B. Staff simply asking beforehand "what do you guys think?" would alleviate some of the negative publicity and ill will that actions like the one of December 10th has generated.

Every staff person at the MBC has an email address posted at
http://www.mobaptist.org/alpha_staff_directory .
I suggest some of us need to also use these addresses more frequently to let these folks know what we're feeling and thinking.

The Nominating committee should make another policy - You must have an email account and be willing for it to be posted publicly to all Missouri Baptists before you can serve in an elected position in this state.

I cannot imagine an organization in the 21st Century being unwilling or unable to communicate electronically to all their "members" or "affiliates" critical and timely information in a matter of hours rather than days.

We simply cannot absorb many more divisive blows as a convention and survive.

Communication is the key.
Networking is the future.
It really is that simple.

7 Comments:

Blogger Scott Weldon said...

Jim, I think you're showing a bit of "techno-arrogance" here. You are right in saying that many pastors do not have access to much of the technology you speak of. In many cases, they simply can't afford it. I love hearing guys talk about their latest gadgets when some of us are just trying to keep food on the table. My laptop is 7 years old and not even able to do internet anymore (long story) and I certainly can't afford to replace it. I barely afford a cell phone. Internet is sporadic on a dial up connection unless I go to the library to use their DSL.

I agree that the MBC could and should modernize some things, but it may not be as simple as it sounds unless you all start making donations to the technology poor preacher's fund!

12/26/2007 12:03 PM  
Blogger Jim Shaver said...

Scott,

The evidence is in your response. You did respond to my blog via the internet. You made a decision to be "connected" regardless of your economic circumstances and lack of modern technology.

It is not "techno-arrogance" on my part - it is "techno-reality."

And sure, I wouldn't be opposed to paying for a new computer for you or any MBC pastor out of CP funds. Better to spend it there than on $25,000 for Executive Board meetings.

1/12/2008 3:07 AM  
Blogger Scott Weldon said...

"I wouldn't be opposed to paying for a new computer for you or any MBC pastor out of CP funds. Better to spend it there than on $25,000 for Executive Board meetings."

Can't say that I disagree there. We have for a long time understood that the "machine" of the denomination is a money guzzler. If you make the motion, I'll surely second it!

You're right in saying that I've tried to stay connected. But with limited access, it does take a lot of effort. My fear is that those who can't make that effort may be "left behind." Just don't want to see that happen.

1/14/2008 8:01 AM  
Blogger Jim Shaver said...

We've tried to get a handle on why pastors don't make an effort to get connected to the internet.

It Boils down to 3 categories:

Older pastors who aren't going to change.

Pastors who haven't really understood all the resources that are available online.

Pastors who have no computer skills.

I can't think of one case at least in our association where it's a matter of finances. The majority of pastors afford what they really want.

1/16/2008 4:54 AM  
Blogger Scott Weldon said...

"The majority of pastors afford what they really want"

To a degree that may be true. But having four children on a small church salary does tend to moderate that. Sure, my wife could work instead of homeschooling our kids. We may have a few more dollars and buy newer computer equipment. But our children are the priority. So I guess you could say we DO afford what we really want: our kids' education. Should we be alienated from the convention "pipeline" because of that?

I agree that some just don't want to be more connected, but I think it's much more complicated, with many more varied scenarios than you think.

Not trying to have a pity party or anything. Just wanting to be more sensitive to the variety of reasons some guys may not be more "wired" than others.

1/16/2008 7:09 PM  
Blogger Jim Shaver said...

Scott,

I understand exactly where you are coming from.

BUT it's kind of like the Missouri Department of Transportation building 4 lane highways. Do you wait until the minority Amish population in Missouri change their minds about gasoline engines before we build highways the rest of us can travel 70mph on? I don't think so.

There will always be folks who will not be connected regardless of the attempts made by the MBC. That's why in my original diatribe I placed the responsibility for that communication on the local association via the DOM.

1/19/2008 4:49 AM  
Blogger Jim Shaver said...

Just happened to browse my college website. Their official policy is that every student must have an email address as that is the "official" correspondence mode at college.

Plus all students are required to check their email at least once a day.

I understand the difference between a college and a convention but the world is changing and I personally get much more "Official" information sent to me through email than the US Mail. It's a sign of the times.

1/19/2008 7:10 AM  

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