Technology within families, youth groups, and in the church in general has always been a semi-disastrous, sometimes cautious, and at other times empowering experience. We are slowly moving from a world of backyard fun for children and teenagers to mobile devices always on the hip, XBox invaded, and digital lives on social media. As many have, there is a serious concern with hyperconnected activity where teenagers spend way too much time online, but we need to see if there are any great outcomes of this too.

Before we dive into the details of what this means for the church, let’s look at some of the statistics from the infographic:

– Statistics on teenagers access to the Internet ranges from 88% (Hispanic population) to 99% (Rural)
– Facebook leads the social media category with 700 billion minutes per month, but YouTube has had over 1 trillion videos watched in one year.
– 55% of people survey believe the future of hyperconnectivity is going to be a good thing, but 42% are fearful that it will be negative.

So What?

This may require that pastors look at how they deliver their messages to a digital generation. Youth groups are already adopting some social media and online presences, but can we do more to reach the lost? Topics like digital evangelism (sharing the Gospel with the lost exclusively online) and digital discipleship (full discipleship model solely over the Internet) are being hot button issues as we look to try and integrate current spiritual models with new technology while not losing the depth of the experience as well as the breadth of knowledge and wisdom of these religious practices.

At the same time, we need to understand the side effects of hyperconnectivity, including moral and religious issues of instant gratification, impulse control issues, and potential social skill impairment. As the Church, do we come along side the family to help them interact better with their children online or provide parenting solutions that eliminate digital distractions? Is our goal to use online technology to reach lost people in our community that we simply do not have the capacity to do with our finite time? And can we truly share the Gospel of Christ over an email, tweet, or Google+ Hangout or is there more?

We would love for you to check out the infographic that spurred on this conversation and answer in the comments, what are your fears and hopes of a hyperconnected congregation and lost community?

a hyperconnected life

[Image via InternetProvider.org]