As Christians we believe that God's Word is unchanging. Our God doesn't flip-flop or change His mind. When He gave us His Word, it was final and infallible. In contrast, we humans tend to change pretty much at the drop of a dime.
One week, we'll have an extreme opinion on a topic, but then the next we'll learn more and change our opinion. Some of us seem to change our careers every five years or so. Our tastes and style change every time the newest fad hits the market. One of the seemingly biggest changes to hit us most recently is the change in the way we learn.
In the past, most learning was done by either listening to a professor lecture or reading about a topic. These days, while professors still play a pivotal part in teaching subjects, the resources and tools they use to teach those subjects have become much more technological.
At the dawn of the first century, the Gospel message was spread primarily through word-of-mouth. Five hundred years ago, the message of the Protestant Reformation was spread with help of Gutenberg's printing press. These days, technology and forms of communication seem to be progressing in massive leaps and bounds.
In order to share the Gospel message in a way that is understandable and applicable to the culture we live in, we church workers need to be able to keep up with the times. That means we need to be constantly learning what is new, and we can utilize this knowledge for Gospel proclamation. We can and should learn from each other, and there are some amazing tools that we can use to learn and keep up with the ever-changing world around us.
One of my favorite places to learn is a website called Lynda.com. Lynda.com is a subscription-based online education company that provides tutorials on thousands of different topics such as graphic design, web design, marketing, videography, and much more. With the Premium subscription, you have access to all of the tutorials, as well as project files to follow along and learn in a hands-on lesson.
All of my college film classes used Lynda.com as a resource. There was always a professor teaching each session and demonstrating how to use particular software, like Adobe After Effects, but we would then watch the Lynda.com videos and follow along in the project files, in order to learn using multiple senses. I still use these tutorials today in my role here at Concordia Technology Solutions, brushing up on different aspects of the software I use and learning new techniques.
While it may not have downloadable project files or be as professional as Lynda.com, YouTube offers millions of videos on nearly any subject you can think of. They have videos that teach topics such as how to begin using Photoshop, how to create slides for a sermon, and how to set up three-point lighting for an interview.
Many people, especially those who grew up using technology, use YouTube almost exclusively to learn how to do nearly anything. For instance, when I wanted to run a water line to the refrigerator at my house, I pulled up several YouTube videos that laid out all the steps for me. The same holds true in a church setting. If there's a new technique you are hoping to learn or software you want to brush up on, YouTube probably has several good tutorials for you to check out.
Reading blogs is another way many of us learn. In my opinion, blogs can be very unhelpful if they don't have a good focus. A lot of bloggers try to cover too much ground and hit everything, and tend to water down their content. Some of the best blogs focus on a particular topic, that way the people who follow that blog will get content that is actually relevant to them. There are two blogs in particular that I think are very helpful for anyone who is trying to keep up with the world of church tech and communication.
Technology & Your Ministry - I think this blog is extremely helpful for church workers. While it provides a variety of content, from topics like church website design to using Snapchat to reach out to millennials, it really focuses on teaching church workers how best to use technology to support their ministries.
It can be difficult to get behind the news and mainstream media options available today, but there are some great news sites that can keep you up to date with trends in the tech and communication world. There are two in particular that I try to keep up with on a daily basis, just to make sure I know what's happening in our world and what new tools are available: Tech Crunch and Wired.
Both of these sites share daily news updates on what new gear is out there, what new social media platforms are being used, and how technological advancements will shape the way we live. All of these topics are important for church workers to follow as we try to share the Gospel in new ways and reach the lost.
Are there resources you use to learn new techniques or ideas? Share in the comments below!
For other helpful ideas and topics, visit the CTS Blog Technology & Your Ministry.