Answer - Communication.
Martin Luther took advantage of the technology of his day - the Printing Press. If not for the invention of Gutenberg, it is possible the reformation would not have happened.
One study found that Luther out-communicated the Roman Catholic church at a rate of 10 to 1. He produced ten print documents for every one that was produced by the Roman church. (You'll be able to learn more about this from Beth Lewis of Augsburg Press at a workshop next spring at our Synod Assembly.)
If Martin Luther were alive today, do you think he would be using the tools of communication that are currently available?
As they say in Minnesota, "Youbetcha."
This evening I enjoyed an hourlong conversation with the confirmation class from Emanuel Lutheran Church in Hartford, CT. For 55 minutes I was peppered with questions like: What does God look like? Why does it say 'I believe in the holy catholic church' in the Apostle's Creed? Do you believe in Hell? What is a bishop? What's the best part of your job?
All these questions were asked via Skype, the free internet video conferencing software.
Most of you know about Skype, and have used it to talk with family or friends, or as a business tool. Natalie Bloomquist, Director of Christian Education decided to embody the spirit of Martin Luther and use Skype as a tool for confirmation instruction. Brilliant!
Can you imagine a class of 6th, 7th and 8th graders listening and engaging in questions about life and faith for a whole hour?
Well, that is what happened. The kids were great, and goofy, and listening, and drifting off, and learning, and growing in their knowledge and faith. What more can you ask from a confirmation class.
But in my mind the key to the success of this event was the preparation. Natalie had the young people discuss and think up questions in advance. What better way to engage. The process of conceiving of questions is central to the learning process. Double Brilliant.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. But, it doesn't just have to be with a bishop. Have a class Skype with other pastors, government officials, homeless shelter directors, college students, etc.