A couple of years or so ago the online buzz shifted. The perpetual information overload was exhausting and people wanted more. They wanted to connect with like-minded people around the world. They didn’t want to just ‘know’ something, they wanted to talk about it. The Conversation Age replaced the Information Age as the desire for community became stronger than the thirst for knowledge.
Robert Scoble wanted to have one good conversation a day. Seth Godin unleashed the idea virus. Hugh MacLeod talked about social objects and social markers. (Hugh often uses offensive language in his posts and cartoons. If you can’t get past this, you won’t want to click any of the links in the sentence containing his name.) Information in and of itself wasn’t going to cut it anymore. Information had to spark conversations or it wasn’t going to go very far.
The Online Generation demands conversation. Consequently, online discipleship must be a group process. David Watson says,
An essential skill set for church planters is the ability to form, develop, and equip groups. It is through groups that churches are established, maintained, and replicated. Engaging, understanding, and obeying Scripture is best done through a group process. Groups, when established properly, are self correcting, and minimize syncretism or heresy. It is understood that all new groups have problems, but we are confident that the Holy Spirit will work to correct these problems if we have established a context in which He can speak. It is believed this context is a group who studies the Word of God together and holds each other accountable for obeying the Word of God.
Group Process facilitates conversation. If we want to reach the Online Generation, we must discover ways to engage lost people in group conversations about God’s Word. One-way information transfer isn’t going to cut it. Even one-on-one conversation isn’t good enough. We must cultivate the ability to engage groups in spiritual conversation if we want to impact lostness online.
If you are trying to reach the Online Generation, are you sparking spiritual conversations that lead to a Group Process of discovering God through His Word? How are you doing it?