I’m a guy who enjoys electronics, gizmos and gadgets. I even supported part of my seminary education by doing part-time I.T. administration for a company here in Dallas. So when I came across Shane Hipp’s book, The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel, and Church, I was immediately intrigued and picked it up.
Shane Hipps spent many years as one of the top experts on culture. His job was to constantly study media and culture and teach others how to effectively use it to market their products and services. As he grew in his walk with the Lord, he realized that his job was to convince people that they were missing something in their life and that a certain product would provide fulfillment. So, he resigned and attended seminary to learn to do the same with the Word of God. His writing therefore comes from many years of experience and knowledge of this topic of technology and culture, and it shows!
I used to just take technology for granted and explored any new way of using it in ministry. However, Shane Hipps makes many good points why the statement, “The message stays the same but the methods change” really isn’t true. His argument is, “No, the method changes the message.” At first I couldn’t see how that could be based on anything but personal opinion, but his insights from behind the scenes of media and marketing really indicate a lot that the general public hasn’t realized about the affect media has on what’s being communicated. He starts with scriptural examples, moves on to explain the affect of the printing press and other past “phenomenons” that were considered technology, and then discusses current examples of media in church.
In no way does Shane Hipps doesn’t attack the use of media in ministry. Rather, he helps us think through different aspects of what it communicates and teaches us how to use it wisely and appropriately. It’s very helpful material.
Posted on October 29, 2006