The Digital Cathedral (book review)

The Digital Cathedral (book review)

“I’m convinced that one of the major challenges for today’s church leaders is a matter of perspective. For ministry leaders, the church, whether by that we mean the building or the institution, is often at the center of our time and focus. People in parish ministry spend most of our time there, along with much of our emotional, spiritual, and intellectual energy. This is a good and noble thing. However, we can become so focused on the inter-working of our congregations that we miss what is going on down the block and across our communities…This myopia is especially dangerous in a time of institutional decline. Debates and worry over the fate of church institutions, while acknowledging the mortality of the institution, which seems a good and healthy thing, paradoxically reinforce the focus on the institution itself rather than pushing us to look beyond its boundaries. Even as the number of people present in our congregations dwindle, our fixation on the institution grows. We spend more and more time worrying over the internal operations of our institutions, even as fewer and fewer people attend and belong. Thus, we inhabit and concern ourselves with an ever-shrinking piece of cultural and spiritual real estate.” – Keith Anderson, The Digital Cathedral: Networked Ministry in a Wireless World

What will the church of the future look like? How will we remain agile, attentive, relevant, and alive? In this book Keith Anderson demonstrates both practical solutions, and avenues of engagement rooted in deep faithful living and a changing culture of how we “do church”.

I especially appreciated the multiple examples of vibrant, “out of the box” ministry that is reaching people where they are. Rather than simply offer a completely “new” lens – Anderson also effectively links the history of change in the church of the past to now. “Digital” is an important view – but so is the “cathedral” of the past in its community role and use.

As someone involved in how the church/our Quaker meetings consider restructuring and relevance I found this book a helpful guide and reminder of what we may be called to be. I highly recommend this to those readers considering what relevant church might look like in the future.

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