Our friend Russ Bredholt is back with a new entry for us to ponder. I always appreciate his musings and comments. Russ managed to have a household accident a few weeks back and dropped me a line to explain. I was real worried until he told me he was back playing golf, but only with a nine finger grip. He's back thinking too. Here are his thoughts on the Mindset of a New Generation "At a recent meeting of college presidents a presentation was given by Dr. Diana Oblinger, professor of business at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Oblinger's subject was changing technology and its implication for higher education. The more she talked, the more I realized just how much her material would also relate to the church. To underscore her point about a shift in priorities and values among younger adults, Dr. Oblinger listed the following as characteristics of the "Information Age Mindset:"* -Computers aren't technology -The Internet is better than TV -Reality is no longer real -Doing is more important than knowing -Nintendo over logic -Multitasking is a way of life -Typing is preferred to handwriting -Staying connected is essential -Zero tolerance for delays -Consumer and creator are blurring Each item listed above was commented on for clarification. Space does not allow us to go into that kind of detail. Most reading this column will be able to interpret these points. They make for interesting discussion. What I want to do is highlight Dr. Oblinger's response...offering advice to leaders of educational institutions and speaking to the issue of how, if at all, to respond. Her counsel comes in the form of questions (good advisors do this). The emphasis, you will note, focuses on internal values first. Dr. Oblinger raised four questions. I modified each and added a comment in order to fit the context of the church: 1. Why are we doing church? Before trying to get into the details of overhauling how we do church, can we simply ask ourselves the simple question: What causes us to be here in the first place? 2. What kind of experience do we want our people (members/attenders) to have as a result of being connected to our church? I believe in mystery and serendipity, but there is something about leaders working to intentionally shape and influence relationships and experiences so they are more positive than negative. 3. Does information technology change our traditional mission? Maybe it does not change as much as we think. Perhaps it is the context of mission where adaptations are to be considered. 4. What is distinctive about our church? We have written on this subject before. It is our observation that most congregations don't know what sets them apart from other faith groups. (A good way to find this out is to interview the newer members of the church.) Those that enjoy some measure of results do so in part because they are not the same as everyone else. Effectiveness is often related to the degree of difference. Churches can be long on vision and short on follow-up. Attention to detail is the most overlooked aspect of congregational life, other than time with the spiritual disciplines. Before we get too wrapped up in technological advances, it is still worthwhile to come back to a few basic questions that help us clarify what is important to us. It is becoming clearer what is of interest to young adults. The question is whose values will prevail?" Give feedback directly to our friend Russ Bredholt, Jr. by emailing him at rbredholt@aol.com. His source for the comments come from an article by Jason L. Frand in Educause Review (S/O 2000)

source: Church Champions Update Mar 13, 2001 tags: Church, Paradigms