Pick My Brain – Working the Web, Opening the Book, Growing in Christ OR Social Media, Bible Study and Christian Formation

     by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation

Fresh off the plane from the MCUSA Convention in Phoenix, it soon becomes clear to me that two of the seminars I attended have real staying power, real potential for sticky faith, real practical application.  I pass on the torch to you!

1.  Social Media and the Church with Angela Williams was among the finest resourcing I have ever received!  Angela serves as Director of Children and Youth Ministries at Pasadena Mennonite Church. She is also a PhD student in Practical Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.  Angela highlighted Spectacular Benefits of Social Media:  multitasking, efficient, fast-paced problem solving, contributes to brain sharpness, it’s a bi-directional tool.  She also noted the Enormous Costs of Social Media:  fragmentation, less comprehension, impedes long-term memory, seizes our attention, then scatters it; pre-occupation with what is “out there” and less attentiveness to the here and now.  Social Media is here to stay.  So..how can churches engage in Christian Faith Formation so that it has staying power?  Here is what she suggests:  Attentiveness; Repetition; Meaningful Association, Brain Rest.  Aha!  I can see all these things happen in a well-orchestrated worship service OR a Sunday School Class OR a small group – can you?  Let me know if you want more conversation on this – I think we can do it, and do it well, and do it well during our WDC Year of the Bible emphasis.

A related article by Angela can be found at:  http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/articles/presence-hospitality-and-facebook

2.  Reading the Bible Like Our Lives Depend on it – Leading Formational Bible Studies with Rachel Miller Jacobs, Associate Professor of Christian Formation at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.  This approach to Bible study starts with the people who are gathered around the text, the things they know and don’t know, the places they are in their life of faith and the relationship within which they are imbedded.  It focuses on paying attention to God’s word, the Holy Spirit, and involves sharing at all levels.  It is characterized by the following actions, attitudes and practices:

  • Focus on the quality of our reading rather than the quantity
  • Sink into the text rather than skimming
  • Enter into a relationship with the text, as if it is the subject rather than an object
  • Approach the text lovingly and receptively
  • Read the text with openness to mystery rather than problem-solving mentality

This great stuff (a complete 27 page doc on this topic, with lots of instructions) can be found at http://www.yearofthebiblenetwork.org/adult1.html

So much to learn, so much to absorb, so much to be grateful for!
See you at Year of the Bible Launch and WDC Annual Assembly.  Bring your Bibles!