The Digital Divide: A Wake Up Call To Christian Leaders
Retailers have no choice but to go where consumers are. The Wall Street Journal recently looked at a typical American family, the Ulitcans of Columbus, Ohio. The 50-something parents have four children, ranging in age from 10 to 27. The parents do their shopping in local stores and shopping malls.
Their children do not follow the same pattern. As Shelly Banjo reports, while the parents are at the mall, their offspring “instead peer into their smartphones, comparing prices, looking for deals and seeking friends’ advice about potential purchases.”
The Journal describes a “generational shopping split” to which retailers must respond, or find themselves soon out of business.
The paper reports: “Technology plays an increasing role in the generational shopping split. Millennials are 21/2 times more likely to be early adopters of technology than older generations, serving as a leading indicator for retailers of what is likely to become mainstream, said Christine Barton, a partner at Boston Consulting Group.”
And the Millennials are a formidable challenge as they move into adulthood. They represent the future buying public. Of course, The Wall Street Journal is interested in what this means for retailers and the business community, but the article is a wake-up call for the church and Christian leaders as well. Christian leaders who want to influence the Millennials and other young Americans must join them where they are — online — and in an effective manner. Otherwise, we will find ourselves talking only to older Americans. Churches that refuse to connect with people online will find themselves in the same peril as the shopping malls.
Christian leaders who want to influence the Millennials and other young Americans must join them where they are — online — and in an effective manner.
Beyond the generational divide is the reality that the digital age allows information to leap over geographical and political boundaries — offering a way to project Christian truth where it has never gone before.
Southern Seminary is, first and foremost, a brick-and-mortar institution committed above all to residential theological education on our campus. This remains our first commitment as we serve the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention through the task of theological education. But we also take advantage of every appropriate digital technology, determined to provide leadership in the digital world even as we lead on the ground. Nothing less is worthy of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
I do hope that you will be praying for our students, faculty and staff. I ask you to pray for our alumni serving the cause of Christ all over the world. We sincerely hope that you will soon visit us on this beautiful campus. But, until then, take advantage of all that Southern Seminary offers you online.