Posted by: smstrouse | January 20, 2011

Follow Me & I Will Make You Blog (I Mean Fish) for People

It’s just not the same church that I was ordained into 22 years ago. 

I say that with great remorse about how I looked with disdain back then upon my older colleagues in ministry who were expressing those very same sentiments.  We were learning about ‘changing paradigms’ and the differences between Boomers and Busters.  We were re-learning how to do evangelism; ‘Bring-a-Friend Sunday’ was the sure-fire way to grow your congregation. My older colleagues were skeptical – or just plain too tired to learn new paradigms. 

Now I can relate.  But I’m also convinced that in today’s church, you have to keep up.  A conversation with a public relations guy said that if a congregation wants to attract new people it must have a great website and facebook page. It wouldn’t hurt, either, for the pastor to blog and tweet.  Talk about new paradigms! In the past several years, I’ve gone to more seminars on social media than theology, biblical studies, or anything else. And I’m still learning. Next, despite my great resistance, I’ll be texting – mostly because that’s how our seminary teaching parish students communicate (I wouldn’t want to give them the opportunity to look upon me with disdain) .

So this week’s gospel text is the story of how Jesus calls “Come, follow me” to Peter, Andrew, James, and John.  And because they were fishers by trade, Jesus adds, “and I will make you fish for people.”  Thus began a metaphor for evangelism. Consider book titles such as Fishing on the Asphalt, Don’t Lose That Fish: Evangelism, the Supreme Task of the Christian, and Catch: Attracting and Connecting Visitors (from the Go Fish! Series)

We don’t use the word ‘evangelism’ much anymore; ‘outreach’ has become less laden with baggage. And I would venture to  imagine that if Jesus was walking among us today, he’d ditch the fish language too. He’d say something more along the lines of “Follow me and I will make you bloggers of people.”  He’d probably even text and tweet. Because that is the paradigm today. Like it or not.

I actually enjoy facebook nd I’m getting used to the discipline of writing a blog.  I’m not sold yet on Twitter, although I do have 40 followers (why, I’m not sure).  Texting is still in the realm of mystery, but soon to be explored. So I’m trying to keep up. 

Because, as a follower of Jesus, I’ve been hooked (whoops, a leftover fishing reference) and have heard the call to be a blogger for people. That sound you hear is a paradigm shifting!

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