Does liveblogging belong in church?

So right after I finished my debut as a liveblogger, I changed my Facebook status, indicating that I was planning to liveblog my colleague’s sermon on Sunday. (This is likely to be much better fare than what I generally emit from the pulpit, I might add.)

There’s a little discussion going on in the comments to my Facebook status. Some people seem to feel that liveblogging a sermon would be inherently wrong. I agree that the kind of snarky liveblog I wrote would not be edifying. However, how cool would it be to have a liveblog — running thoughts, comments, questions — that might foster a new attention to the art of preaching?

I think we actually need to get serious about putting some Web 2.0 magic to work in our churches. Church Marketing Sucks has some suggestions for using Twitter in your church. There are all sorts of ways Twitter could be useful, especially if we’re trying to reach the younger set.

After 30 seconds of trying to find it, I just gave up, but I read a post not long ago about a church that put a display near the pulpit. Anyone in the church could Twitter a message onto the display. It was a transformative experience, with the congregation interacting with the preacher in a new way. Think of it as the Web 2.0 version of traditional African-American preaching/listening style.

I won’t really liveblog this sermon this Sunday. But it’s a pretty nifty idea, I think. At first, I was being silly in suggesting it. The reaction on Facebook has convinced me that it might be an experiment worth trying. I just need to think about how and why. And I need to assure my colleague that I would be nice. Maybe she should liveblog my sermon. Hmmm…..

UPDATE: Down in the comments, I see that Rachel has found the article about Twittering in church. Thanks!

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5 Responses

  1. I would find liveblogging distracting for these reasons:

    — Immediate responses from the sisters and brothers alongside me in the pews would be an exhausting distraction. With the various squirrels running around in my head, I have enough trouble staying focused on the sermon.

    — Clickety clickety clickety.

    — Sacred space means not hauling all of our creature comforts to worship on Sunday.

    — Clickety clickety clickety.

    — Hey, why not liveblogging during Communion itself?

    — Clickety clickety clickety.

    — “Be still and know that I am God.”

    — Clickety clickety clickety.

  2. Rachel says:

    Scott, I think you are on to something.
    The article you are looking for maybe is this one?
    http://mondaymorninginsight.com/index.php/site/comments/live_twittering_a_church_service_oh_yeah/
    Personally, I think of it as sort of an update on sermon notes, and for me, some sort of a discussion is what I have been looking for ever since confirmation and note taking was required of me.

    Why can’t we make sermons more conversational ie: liveblogging? Just because we are snarky online, and when I say we, I mean me too, does not mean all of the sudden we are going to be a jerk to the pastor? I think it gets at the heart of power, who has it, who is proclaiming it, and who can question or even enter into a conversation about what is being preached from the pulpit. Fear.

    I might have to riff on this later. But I am grateful you are opening this for a larger conversation.

  3. Melody says:

    Ummm…. As Scott’s associate, can I just say I was not consulted in this whole liveblogging thing?! Not that I am intractably opposed to it, just that it sounds kind of intimidating. I think we should start with you, Scott…

  4. i think I am going to write on this. I have been trying for a number of years to get one of my clients to try this new technology. Although i agree it can be distracting. a la (Why didn’t the Pastor address this point) I think this would be wonderful in a teaching environment. please keep us posted on your progress.

  5. Peter Carey says:

    I would love to liveblog Scott’s sermons, could you live-feed them to the web and then I could liveblog them from my couch while I watch FoxNFLPreview?

    Peter

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