Communicating in Both Old & New Ways

Communicating in Both Old & New Ways

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries


A strange thing happened recently in the Stinson house during the sleeping hours. Someone, or some thing, caused my iPad to crack while my wife and I innocently slept. I discovered the crack during the wee morning hours when I went downstairs because my sleep had been disturbed. Could it have been the mysterious someone or some thing that played havoc with the screen?

Later that morning, when we both were up and about, I asked Barbara—the last one to use the iPad and put it on the charger for the night—if it had fallen. She said it had not. Did you knock it on something, was the next question. She said she had not and that it was fine when she plugged in the charger. I fully believe her. So the mystery remains. 

Meanwhile I am out $300, which is what the replacement cost. The end of the story is that every app had to be downloaded. Which is what prompted these thoughts.

As much of a mystery as the origin of the cracking was, and is, the greater mystery quickly became how to accomplish setting up the new iPad (which I thought had been finished when I left the Apple store). Fortunately I figured it out and am now back in business. Barbara and I still love each other and we are creating plans to catch whoever or whatever sneaked into our home and cracked our iPad. You see, my generation is largely still catching up to our children and grandchildren in how these things work. 

It serves as a cautionary tale to congregations, who often assume that everyone knows their way around computers and lives comfortably in the digital world and can communicate accordingly.

Well, as the saying goes, “Let me tell you something.” Not everyone in our congregations even owns a computer. Not all of our members are comfortable with new forms of sharing information, which many of our members take for granted. Be understanding of this reality and provide easily available printed information on tables in the narthex, inserts in bulletins, etc. If the information is time sensitive, make phone calls to those who have not moved into the digital world. 

Take the mystery out of communications for everyone who is stymied by the new ways. Creating hospitality for others is not just what we show to others, it is what we do for our own as well.