Here's an illustration of the extended conversations we can have online. John Schroeder blessed me today by picking up on one of my earlier posts and running with it. However, mine was a development from a post by Bradley Wright. It was basically a thought around the idea of non-profits and the scarcity of resources (attention, volunteering, fundraising) Follow the thread here, if you dare:
Bradley's original post
Russell's follow- up
John's follow- up
So Bradley has some very deep initial thoughts, I add my usual silliness, and then John adds some real value by givings us the distinction between obligitory giving and passionatie giving. Obligitory giving results in a scarcity of resources ... while passionate giving results in a multiplication of resources. There's any number of obligitory givers out there we can touch, but the real bang comes when we touch the people who are passionate about the ministry.
And this takes me to the recent work by Clay Shirky Here Comes Everybody (see my review here). Now people with passion are able to remotely connect quickly, easily and all around the world. The use of social media on the web will dramatically increase the pie for everyone because passionate people can more easily bond. In addition, the tools allow them to collaborate much easier, as well as making it easier for obligitory givers/volunteers to provide simple/low cost contributions on their own terms (see Kiva.org as a fine example -- or my posts on how it works). Another fine example of this trend is in the Modest Needs foundation (which I heard about on NPR) .... you make your donation, and then you can choose which particular needy people you can donate to ... online ... at midnight while you're in your jammies and sipping a glass of Grape Nehi.
Social media does this by lowering the connection cost .... you can connect many to many very easily. The churches/nonprofits that learn how to use social media will reap great benefits in terms of breadth of connection, depth of committment, etc. There are challenges on how to navigate the social media realm .... it's new .... all the old rules don't apply ... there will be brand new norms of behavior and expectations (do i, as a pastor, by default "friend" people on Facebook, or do I wait for them to come to me? What are the bounds of information I can share about myself? What kind of messages will people treat as spam? etc).
Soli Deo Gloria