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Dean Sweetman helps pastors over age 50 overcome common obstacles to becoming and staying technologically competent.
January 2, 2020
How do you stay tech competent when you're over 50?
Newsflash. I am over 50. So let me just first say, if you're 50+, this can all be very intimidating. You've got these young people running around, and they have so much knowledge at their fingertips. I look at my five-year-old grandson, and how he handles a mobile device is actually a little bit frightening. All these kids have grown up with technology and it just comes easily to them. It's unavoidable.
There are a few things I think you can do to stay tech-competent if you’re 50+.
You've got to think: “I'm not shying away from this. I am going to embrace technology.” You can do that in a few ways. First, you get around young people and see what they're doing and you become intentionally inquisitive. I always love to surround myself in the church setting with younger leaders. And for many years, I found myself as the young leader. And then one day I wasn't. And all of a sudden, now I'm the elder leader.
I realized: to stay young and to think young, you need to be around the young. So I would encourage, if you're 50+, to get around young people. They understand technology, they've grown up in school with technology, and they're just really, really, really good at it.
Reach out to them. You can let your ego get in the way, but you've got to throw that out the door. You can actually ask them how to do stuff. These days you can take video, edit video, edit sound, all within the mobile device, and then post it and create a story. These kids are working on these works of art that take only minutes to create, and they post a 60-second story on Instagram. My goodness—what is even a story? I'm just catching up with putting photos on Instagram. Ask the young people. See what they're doing, and let them help you get competent in the world of technology.
Read blogs and listen to podcasts about technology. There is a million and one different ways that you can consume some great content around technology. Get a great podcast and blog aggregator such as Feedly to automatically browse the best blog content on your chosen topic like a magazine. Even if I'm just reading the headlines, most nights I'm able to look at 50 or 60 articles. In five or six of them, I'm going to go in there and read a little bit more about what's going on, all in the realm of technology. Educate yourself with blogs and podcasts. That's something that's really, really easy to do, and something that you should be doing.
You should always be trying to challenge yourself, doing new things—things that you've never done before. New hobbies, new places, new people. Just get out there and try new stuff, and create that mindset. Then the technology obstacle won't be such a giant issue for you. You'll be able to embrace it, roll with it, and use all of its benefits. The smartphone changed the world—in most ways for good. That was the thing that we take for granted today. New phones are coming out every 12 months. Chip speeds are getting faster just like our old computers did. They're just getting faster and faster. We have more technology in our hand now than launched the moon mission. It's just incredible.
Set aside a budget to be able to get new technology in your hands. It’s not super expensive nowadays to stay up-to-date with the latest technology. If I see church leaders with like six, seven-year-old phones in their hand, they need a new phone. It’s not to look cool. It's to have the greatest technology at your fingertips, because it's really, really powerful.
Make sure that you're always on the cutting edge of mobile devices, understanding how they work, and how to get the most out of them. If there's one piece of technology you must get ahold of and must understand, it’s a mobile device. The mobile smartphone is the one piece of technology that, as a pastor, you've got to be competent in and understand the benefits that it gives you. Mobile is the future.
Watch the video of this episode here: https://get.tithe.ly/blog/how-to-stay-on-top-of-the-latest-technology-trends
Today on Modern Church Leader, our Dean Sweetman helps pastors over age 50 overcome common obstacles to becoming and staying technologically competent.
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