Use online platforms to lead with authenticity: Guy Mason

By Chris Shearer

December 2 2015The digital revolution offers both challenges and opportunities to future Christian leaders, says Guy Mason, lead pastor at Melbourne’s City on a Hill.

Speaking at Ridley College’s annual fundraising dinner on 23 October, Mr Mason said that the key was staying “true to ourselves while engaging with an ever changing culture”. 

“Just as the advent of the printing press granted the generation of the reformation unprecedented opportunities to communicate their message, the digital revolution presents today’s believers with the tools, platforms and opportunities that previous generations of Christians could not have imagined,” he said. 

“Christian leaders should be exercising stewardship in new opportunities to learn, to teach, to study online, recognising that no generation before us has had such opportunity.” 

“But of course, the digital revolution presents a paradox. Increased connection does not always equate to increased community. Digital engagement does not always equate to genuine discipleship. I think one of the real challenges is that our screens are now so filled with so much connection, activity and news that we might actually miss the real needs of our real friends and, perhaps, our real church.”

Mr Mason offered four guiding statements on what he thought would help guide tomorrow’s Christian leaders in an increasingly digital world:

“We have a call to lead with authenticity”

Warning of the potential for social media in particular to put forward a curated appearance, Mr Mason said there should be an effort to inspire authenticity in our online lives. “What if we shared our joys and our pains?” he asked. “What if we utilised online platforms to tear down our masks and share the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in-between?”

“We have a call to lead with love”

Mr Mason stressed the need to continue to place love at the centre of one’s faith. “As the apostle Paul said in first Corinthians: if I have the best website known to man and it’s shared by a billion bloggers but have not love, I am nothing,” he joked with the audience. 

“We have a call to lead with wisdom and discernment”

With some much information available online, tomorrow’s Christian leaders will need to help their flock determine sort through the competing voices. “Like a tour guide in a city we need to help raise up men and women who can help the next generation navigate the complexities and the glory of our digital world,” Mr Mason said. 

“We have a call to lead with integrity”  

Noting the rise of easily available pornography, Mr Mason said the digital age had also increased the immediacy and secrecy of sin. He said tomorrow’s leader will need to “teach their flock that before God what they do online is just as important as what they do offline”.