In a class I took recently, Jim Keat shared a helpful perspective that had not formally occurred to me before. He said we often get stuck in a strange error of perspective – and that the opposite of digital ministry is “in person” ministry. NOT “real” ministry, as I have sometimes been told. Jim explained something that I have learned experientially – that digital ministry is using digital communication tools, in digital spaces – to have real contact, real conversations, real interactions. Those interactions are as real in digital spaces as many interactions can be in person.
photo: J Keat
When I am asked to pray for someone, when I reach out to ‘friend” someone on Facebook I have met in person while traveling in ministry, when I share news of faithful witness and support others in those places – that is certainly real to me. When a seeker comes to our meeting website, or asks a question on Facebook about the Quaker path before us – my response is very real. Those interactions may have different ways of communication, different paths and language, but they have purpose and intention. If I am being a “Quaker” in those digital spaces – an intentional, prayerful Friend who lets my Life speak – those interactions might be as effective and impactful as any others I have.
How does that perspective inform what I do now, as a Friend, in digital spaces of ministry (myself, and my meeting)? It means I have a whole new set of (digital) tools with which to share the good news – of the Divine in each of us, of listening, of hearing invitation to another way of being.
As I travel on this journey of digital ministry in digital spaces – it helps to be grounded in prayer and reminded that every Invitation for connection is indeed a real one. How we choose to hold those connections, and shepherd that work of connections of many forms, in all platforms, in all places… rises for me as invitation to be more fully present and “walk cheerfully” over all.