Virtual Relationships

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I’m in a communication nightmare from which I cannot seem to
wake up. I have received no mail at my home for two weeks. The post office is
non-responsive. My work email was down for over a week, and was down again over
the weekend. If people had refused to talk to me over the past two weeks, it
would have been like an old Twilight Zone episode I remember where a man wanted
to be left alone, and awoke the next morning to find that no one would
acknowledge his presence in any way shape or form.

There are times when I curse email, the phone (especially),
and other inputs in my life because the volume sometimes gets a bit
overwhelming. Nevertheless, I prefer it to the inability to communicate at all…especially
unexpectedly.
When it comes to ministry, I believe expanded communications
avenues help me stay in touch with people a bit better. Email, blogs, Facebook,
Twitter, and the like allow me to get to know people in a unique way that I
wouldn’t otherwise. They experience the same from me.
It takes a little extra time, obviously.

But, I’ve noticed
that some of my colleagues are ditching electronic means of communication
(expect email and Facebook fan pages) because of the time it takes to keep them
up…and because they’ve been burned by hostiles online.
What do you think? Is it worth it for ministers to spend
time on blogs and other electronic means as a way to teach or get to know
people—even if such means don’t plumb the depths of relationship?
And, do you think that people can have deep relationships
that are completely or virtually virtual?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Share Your Thoughts

One thought on “Virtual Relationships

  1. I personally believe it’s worth it for ministers to spend time connecting with people irregardless of what that looks like.
    Social networking is one way to stay connected. If the people you’re trying to reach are into Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc., then yes, I believe it’d be stupid to ignore those tools.
    Do I think people can have deep relationships that are 100% virtual? Anything CAN happen, but I don’t believe DEEP relationships that are 100% virtual often do.
    I like to use social networking tools and blogging as icing on the relational cake – not as the cake itself.
    To me, there’s something about being WITH people that online communities and tools simply can’t replace.