In HOPE
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David Timms 

Issue 5.2

Ministry Resource

My reflections this week emerge from reading James Autrey's "The Servant Leader " (Three Rivers Press, 2004). The book is written for the  secular workplace, but has some terrific insights into leadership and team building in general. Very consistent with Kingdom principles.

New Resource

Bare Roots is a FREE new e-resource I am writing with Dr. Chris Davis, an outstanding scholar in biblical studies. Our goal is to provide a one-page resource that combines a deeper analysis of Scripture (The Ancient Word ...) with an application section (...For Today). Bare Roots  is for personal or small group studies, and will follow themes for 4-6 weeks at a time. If you'd like to join this e-community, email cadavis@hiu.edu and indicate "Subscribe to Bare Roots" in the subject line. 

HOPE Happenings

The School of Graduate Studies welcomes Dr. Andre van Niekerk who commenced a few weeks ago as the new Chair of the Management Department. Andre comes with considerable experience at Pepperdine and his own consulting business.

Entangled in Technology

Technology is impressive ... and seductive. Our culture thrives on iPods, laptops, PDAs, cell phones, wireless Internet access, and a host of other gadgets and gizmos. And each electronic addition to our belts or briefcases advances our social status. 

 

On the positive side, technology has helped produce the "global village" of our day. This email is a good example, reaching people all over the world instantly with the click of a button. Geography is no longer a barrier to information.

 

But information and communication are very different matters.

 

A myth of our age is that faster connections are also better ones. "A quick text-message or short email is better than nothing at all." But our speedy messages have increasing drawbacks. We produce them so fast that we often miscommunicate; they become our sole means of messaging so that we grow incapable of lengthy, meaningful dialogue; and they steadily isolate us from the spiritual experience of "presence" with each other. They have a higher potential to kill a team than build a team.

 

The trend of our day is to email people rather than talk to them - even if they are in the next room. Its quick and convenient, but at what cost? We ask a question and answer a question, but have little genuine communication. As we know, words have only ever been a small proportion of the communication process. 

 

"Communication" is that which forms "community" and happens when we "commune" with each other. A simple exchange of information does not necessarily achieve that end.

 

And we ought not understate the intrusiveness of technology into our lives. With our enhanced capacity to make contact, we have become a constantly on-call generation. Electronic contact has become addictive. The cell phone buzzes and we either answer it immediately or feel obliged to check who's calling, even if we are meeting with someone else. Furthermore, our email is sacrosanct, deserving and needing our constant attention. We feel important when there are calls and emails, and this subtly turns our technology into a task-master rather than a servant.

 

The ramifications of this for leadership are significant.

 

As leaders, this techno-allure is no less. Perhaps a "theology of technology" is needed. Has not Christ made us for "face-to-face" encounter? The electronic whiz-bangery of 2005 is not a surprise to the Lord, yet at creation He opted not to include it. Instead He liked to "walk in the garden in the cool of the day" with the man and the woman.

 

Could He not handle the pace? Or, indeed, might there be a lesson in this about the pace? The sacred is not measured by speed. Intimacy does not emerge out of haste. Community is not the product of exchanging information. An indefinable, spiritual reality happens when people get together.

 

As leaders, the connection of hearts and spirits with our team and our people is far deeper than the conveyance of information. While technology allows us to do more, it may hinder us from going deep. May we never embrace efficiency over effectiveness or information over communication.

 

Anyone for an electronic fast?

 

In HOPE -

Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831

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Disclaimer: David Timms Chairs the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. However, "In HOPE" is not an official publication of the University and the views are not necessarily those of the administrators or Board of the institution.

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