Today’s note is a reprise from one I shared in July of 2011. It seems even more appropriate as social media has only increased in its use and its visibility to the culture at large. It certainly is used widely, not necessarily wisely, by the men and women in sport. We must consider ways to use technology wisely and in a Christ-honoring way. I hope these thoughts are of value to you and our service of sportspeople.
During the fall of 2009, I made a presentation to the Sport Chaplains Roundtable in Lansing, Michigan (USA) re: the use of technology in Sports Ministry. An outline of that presentation with some comments follows. I hope it is of value to you as you consider what technologies to employ and the values that shape how you use them.
Using Technology in Sports Ministry
• What to do? Which technologies can enhance our effectiveness in ministry with sportspeople?
• What should I NOT do? What is there about such technologies which could actually harm our ministries?
• How to do it? What are some values which should guide how we approach technological advances?
o Email – many of us use email all the time, but it’s used less and less by people under 30 years of age.
o SMS Text Messages – many people now prefer this mode of communication over all others.
o facebook – there are many ways to use this wisely and many more to use it foolishly.
o Twitter – what of value can be expressed in 140 characters?
o LinkedIn – with whom do you connect on this site?
Guidelines for use of technology:
Consider the purpose for your writing.
o To encourage
o To challenge
o To console
o To inspire
o To inform
Use proper etiquette.
o bcc: in emails – few things are more annoying (and insecure) than seeing hundreds of addresses in the header of an email.
o Please use proper grammar – writing badly does not enhance your ministry nor does it inspire confidence in you.
o Check spelling – this is pretty easy, but if not done can lead to embarrassment.
o Use photos and video wisely – especially in international relationships. There are a number of ways to use photos poorly and thereby jeopardize one’s friends in oppressive countries.
Errors to avoid
o Personal information of coaches or players – Don’t share personal information about sportspeople, ever.
o Injury information – Your sharing of this kind of information can be used by gambling interests and in the USA is even illegal in itself.
o Critical thoughts re: team, coaches or players – This is an express ticket to the loss of your privileges with the team or club.
o Items meant to build your status – Don’t be a name dropper. Don’t post photos with high profile players.
Inspire and encourage
o Coaches – speak to their hearts prior to competitions and then afterward.
o Athletes – challenge them to be their best before game time and then either congratulate or console once you know the result.
o Chaplains – lead and encourage your colleagues as you know they are preparing to share the Lord’s heart with those in his/her charge.