the weblog of Alan Knox

Internet Ministry: Interaction

Posted by on Sep 2, 2010 in discipleship | 4 comments

Internet Ministry: Interaction

In my first three posts concerning internet ministry (“What is it?,” “Evangelism and Discipleship,” and “Global Interaction“), I defined internet ministry as “the use of online services, apps, functions, and technologies in order to serve people with the intention of helping those people grow in maturity towards Christ” and concluded that even if we pursue evangelism online, our ultimate goal should be discipleship – that is, not simply making converts, but helping people maturing in their walk with Jesus Christ. Finally, I encouraged those involved in “internet ministry” to recognize the importance of personal, face-to-fact contact and example in discipleship.

In this final installment in my series on “internet ministry,” I would like to continue discussing the importance of “face-to-face contact and example” by talking about using online interaction to further facility discipleship.

When I use the term “interaction,” I’m talking about communication that takes place in both directions. Now, certainly, it is possible to help someone without this kind of two-way communication. For example, someone could post a teaching based on a particular passage of Scripture, and someone else reading that teaching could benefit, without further interaction.

In reality, this is similar to the teaching/preaching found in many churches today. A person hears a teaching/sermon, but has no further interaction and no deeper relationship with the teacher/preacher. The person hearing can be helped with this type of teaching/preaching, but the amount and type of help is limited.

The way the Jesus and others in Scripture practiced and taught it, discipleship was interactive, in the midst of sharing life together, with questions and answers and follow-up and discussion and argument and another example, etc. It is possible to include this type of interaction using online resources.

The problem is that many who post material on the internet consider the “posted material” to be the most important part of their work. In fact, that posted material is simply the beginning. Whether through comments or emails or phone calls or whatever, the further interaction with other people is often much more important than the posted material that began the further interaction.

Again, do not misunderstand me. Still, personal, face-to-face interaction with both important and necessary. But, using various means, internet ministry can be more interactive and, therefore, more effective at helping people mature in Christ and walk in a manner worthy of the gospel.

Of course, this also means that the way that we interact with people is as important (if not more important) than what we say (or write) in our posted material. If we react with hostility to someone who disagrees with us, it will completely nullify our post about the love of Christ. If we reject someone else, it hinders our message about the grace we have through Christ.

Finally, through interaction, we can demonstrate that we are also teachable – that we also need to be discipled – that we do not have all the answers – that God can and does speak to us and changes us through other people.

So, as we use online tools and resources to disciple others – that is, to help others grow in maturity in Christ – we should seek as much interaction as possible, always attempting to demonstrate the love of Christ in that interaction. In humility, we should admit that we do not have all the answers, that we are sometimes wrong, and that our relationships with others is more important than proving ourselves to be right.


4 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 9-2-2010

    Alan

    Good thoughts! This is why I like to write short posts. I am more interested in the discussion than the original post. The goal of the post is to spark the thought that will hopefully get the conversation rolling. I like that these conversations can be had by people all over the world. It really is amazing to see the community that can be built by simply using the internet! Thanks!

    Dan

  2. 9-2-2010

    Dan,

    You’re writing good posts and getting feedback, and your blog is still very young. I wouldn’t be surprised if your readership and feedback didn’t continue to increase if you’re able to continue riding the kinds of posts that you’re writing.

    -Alan

  3. 9-3-2010

    This one, for me, is a “got’cha” – as I’ve been following your posts for some time and I have not given you feedback for what has ministered to me. Considering myself corrected & reproved now & thinking that I’ll be a better interactor going forward. Thanks for the slap on the keister!

  4. 9-3-2010

    KB,

    Interesting… I wrote this from the perspective of the one writing the posts. But, you’re comment helps me see the same issue from the perspective of the readers/commenters. Thanks!

    -Alan