Bishop Kirk Smith: The Bright Future of Online Learning in Congregations

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona predicts online learning will become more and more popular in U.S. churches. The Rt. Rev. Kirk Smith, whose diocese was an early ChurchNext subscriber, says the accessibility, affordability, flexibility, and control that online learning offers is a great opportunity to expand ministry. “Let’s face it,” Bishop Smith said, “historically, the church has missed the boat on most new media. We did okay with books at the Reformation, but it’s been pretty much downhill since then.” His diocese seems determined not to be behind today’s technological waves. Bishop Smith was an early twitter user and is active on many forms of social media. The way people build relationships continues to change and the Church needs to pay attention to that, says Smith, “The Church has always been about relationships, and we need to change alongside the current trends in communication.” Congregation-based online learning can also provide a way for churches to share, more widely their unique teaching. Smith says, “We have a message so we have to be involved. If we don’t claim our public voice, others will do it for us.”

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