My friend Vince Marotte is always talking about conversations and community. He is serious about it. From twitter to his blog, he wants to engage people in conversation, which is why I was very excited to read his new book Context and Voice.
I read the book over the course of a few days. It’s not a difficult read and Vince and I have had these conversations. I’m glad he put these ideas in book form to convey them to others.
For me the book breaks down to this one idea.
“Is that interaction moving anyone closer to God?”
In other words are the conversations and the content we are creating using online tools or in our interactions with people moving them further along in their spiritual journey? The internet and social media are powerful tools. Are we using them effectively? Vince makes so many good points about the fact that the internet is not a “community”, but a vehicle to reach communities.
One of my favorite analogies in the book is the idea of Front Door. He talks about how our Front Door is a welcoming place at our home. How we paint it, we put the best landscaping near it, the entry way into our home is an inviting special place. Yet in the church we have misplaced the Front Door and expect people to jump through hoops to gain entry.
“The church greatly underestimates this aspect of front door content. Our tendency is to think that the only virtue that can be had, based on content, is for someone to accept Christ or otherwise move in a direction that puts them in the pew of our church. We have been taught that we haven’t presented the Gospel until we proposition the people consuming our content.”
Vince also does a great job of contrasting content and relational content. Content is anything that communicates a message. Relational content exists best within the context of a relationship to help the intended message to be understood. In other words, our content can be insider language at times.
We need to learn how to understand what content is best served inside relationship and identify what content can live outside of relationship and allow people to move in a direction in their spiritual journey toward God. We need to have a solid understanding of relational content to see where our current content fits in and where content we intend to create will fit.
This book caused me to really sit down and contemplate how I interact with people in general. The context in which we are interacting and the content that I’m creating to either educate or interact. Vince challenges communities to move from being consumers to content creators I think the book has great virtue in asking wonderful questions and causing us to think about how we communicate the greatest message ever.
I’ll leave you with Vince’s simple, linear idea of the book.
Culture>Front Door Content>Relationship>Relational Content>Action
Is the story that you are crafting moving people in culture to relationship and ultimately to action?