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Dear alums

Dear alums,

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Cor. 3:6). Summer is a bit slower and we start to think ahead. A new book on economics set me to thinking about what we can do to help reverse the decline of the American church. Since 1964, “the incomes of doctors, schoolteachers, plumbers, and other tradesmen (here let me include pastors) remain limited by the number of customers they can serve. The size of the economy doesn’t change that. The pay of entertainers and other successful entrepreneurs grows larger relative to the pay of the typical workers, not because these innovators charge customers more. If anything, they are charging customers less and less. They earn more because they have more customers.”

For “more customers,” read more people into the life of the church. Author Edward Conard goes immediately to information technology. “These tools increase their ability to serve customers more effectively and to find and commercialize new innovations that are beneficial to everyone.” (“The Upside of Inequality,” 16, 18).

We are in the third great communication revolution in history: The invention of the alphabet, the invention of the printing press and now information technology. If pastors and congregations “remain limited by the number of customers they can serve,” should we think about using information technology to reach more people in church AND community? Here’s a bulletin announcement from one congregation. “We have a Bible Class in the church basement while other Sunday School and Bible Classes can be accessed through the main school doors. … Grades 1-8 all meet in the Choir room.” That’s a past paradigm. Imagine also offering an internet Bible class during the week. This is more than having a church web page. This is an interactive way to engage members in Bible study apart from specified rooms and times. Imagine churchgoers participating in that internet Bible class during the week and inviting their unchurched friends to participate. I’m not tech savvy. That’s why I thank God for our seminarians and younger pastors. God’s given these digital natives to His church just for these times. Just sharing some summertime thinking …

God bless your times of rest and help us all plan wisely so more precious souls will learn about Jesus. Wherever we serve in the Kingdom, we pray to “plant and water” wisely so God can give growth.

Dale

Dr. Dale A. Meyer
President
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis