#Digidisciple for #Gain15

So, the other week I heard about #GAIN15, and after contacting @KosterLundqvist via Twitter, agreed to join them for a 5 minute Skype session this morning, before I head to Karate. Here’s what it looked like from their end:

And here’s what it looked like from my end (pre-session!): skype

and just as we kick off:


and here’s the notes I was working from:

The Challenge of Discipleship in a Digital Age: GAIN

  • So, have we had a ‘digital revolution’? New forms of technology have shifted what is possible – what does it make possible, and what does it limit? Sheer numbers online (with younger in particular not seeing this as separate from so-called ‘real’ life). How does it impact our discipleship practices?
  • Churchgoing not the ‘cultural norm’ for many in the UK, too much competition for other activities on a Saturday/Sunday – those who are even ‘looking’ more likely to come via a website, or, even more likely, via their friends.
  • Anecdotally, around 2012, questions from those working within churches changed from “we don’t need this” to “how do we do this”? Emphasising the importance of understanding digital culture in order to engage with it (effectively).
  • God is a communicating God, and the digital age offers opportunities for more voices to be heard (although we need to challenge pre-existing power structures – the digital doesn’t provide a free for all), and if we concentrate on ‘social’ not media, then the digital with its emphasis on relationships is a powerful space – and we are entrusted by God to be good stewards of our interactions in that space.
  • Church not about ‘bums on seats’, but about developing that discipleship journey: we’re not trying to ‘sell’ something to the world, but to ‘be’ something that is distinctively different, inviting connection from the rest of the world, and an opportunity to be part of a global community.
  • There’s an importance for us as technology users to, yes, be competent users of technology, but not if we are incompetent in what we might be sharing with others, so part of our own discipleship journey is to challenge ourselves as to our practices, including personal spirituality, community, and mission.
  • “Disciples keen to engage modern culture need to understand how to exist in, listen, read, and speak into the digital age: being immersed in the culture, but also acting as a change agent within that culture.” So, so glad that this conversation is on the agenda!
  • On our site: “#Digidisciple(s) have written on a huge range of topics, including tweeting in church, legal and ethical questions, reviews of the latest scholarship, demonstrating graceful communication, thinking before tweeting, the importance of listening, undertaken a digital pilgrimage, relationship development online, authenticity, drawing upon best practice in the secular world, the use of language, attitude, and wellbeing – including taking digital time out. Overall, the group explores how digital practices and values (e.g. social, always-on, immediate, responsive, iterative, accountable, avatar use) contribute to contemporary discipleship and how discipleship values (e.g. authenticity, integrity, discernment) shape the digital environments that are engaged with.”
  • Core to my belief to this is that we are engaged in lives that encompass both the digital and the physical, and we should be looking for consistency in our presence. The digital offers new opportunities to engage with others in our community – share experiences, practices, discuss theology, but also for (some of) those conversations to be in the public sphere, opening it up to our other friends, using the new opportunities to share the spiritual activities that we are engaged in for sharing not for proclamation = authenticity!

Some thoughts extracted from:

 and now it is time to run to Karate!

Academic Digital Event

[ABSTRACT] #DIGIDisciple: Issues and Opportunities for the Christian Sector in a Digital Age

62613_457425067661787_350184790_nPaper Abstract: Media, Religion and Culture in a Networked World, Canterbury, U.K. – August 4-8, 2014. Accepted. 

A frequent topic in the British newspapers is the declining numbers in church membership. For many churchgoing is no longer the ‘cultural norm’. People don’t actively ignore the church: they don’t even think about it, whilst literally billions are in the digital spaces and the social networks. Those in the Christian sector, including churches, have been slow to recognize the value of online spaces, largely through relationships with church members, rather than the church itself. Technologies have changed what is possible, and for many churches over the last few hundred years we have adopted a model of passive, presentation-piece services, heightened even more by a broadcast mode of media that we all got used to with the TV and the radio. Social media, however, offers much more space for questioning, and for congregations to actively engage with sermons through tweeting along, checking something on their online Bibles or Google, sharing photos of church activities, or being encouraged to continue discussions throughout the week through a Facebook group.

Since 2011, The BIGBible Project has created a network of #DIGIDisciples who contribute to a blog questioning what it means to be a Christian in the digital age and in the digital environment. As Elizabeth Dresher would point out, the churches natural style fits the pattern of the social media world  – that of participation and creativity rather than a broadcast hierarchical structure. #DIGIDisciples look to see what digital technologies allow us to do differently, as well as how they may impact our behaviours online. #DIGIDisciples subscribe to the belief that our spiritual lives are 24/7, and that we need to take seriously our Christian presence both online and offline, questioning whether we are we the same person, living by the same values in both environments, modeling Christlike behaviour. Voices are from across the ecumenical spectrum, and at all levels of online expertise (or none) have participated.

The conference paper will draw from the rich collection of over 2,500 #digidisciple posts to demonstrate the potential that the digital has offered churches, whilst also highlighting some of the issues that have been raised.

Digital Life(style)

"Engaging in Discipleship in a Digital Age" #GNPT13

Today I am speaking at ‘the Word and the World‘ conference at the University of Chester:

Word world-discipleship-digital-age from Bex Lewis
Digital Event

#MediaLit13: #DigiRev

This afternoon’s session:

Media lit #Digirev from Bex Lewis
Digital Life(style)

Article in @christiantoday on Community in a Digital Age


Had a good email conversation with Quentin the other week, and here’s some of the results:

In days gone by, connecting on a large scale meant Christians having to meet in person, in conference centres or church halls. Now, Christians anywhere and everywhere can connect with each other online every day.

A virtual community has built up around the Bible thanks to The Big Bible Project, which currently has 60 active contributors and has around 148,000 visitors to the website.

And there are other possibilities through existing social networks like Facebook, with its 700 million active users, and Twitter, with its 300 million active users.

Read full article.