When two letters makes all the difference

Have been dying to write a post for ages entitled “do my stats look big in this”?, but never quite had the nerve. So I’ve done the next best thing, as you can see, and inserted it into the post.

Its a gentle reminder to those of us with an online presence about the subtle but seductive allure of the visitor counter. With a simple click of a mouse you can gauge how many people have read your material, and maybe even where they have read it from. Add to that the facility for “liking” a post and commenting back on it, and you have the kind of feedback most preachers could only ever dream of.

I spent last night at the Christian New Media Awards in the beautiful surroundings of St Stephen’s Walbrook. It was a truly glittering occasion, with fine dining, live music, and a flurry of spectacularly suited & booted bloggers!  It gave an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the fantastic work that so many Christians are doing online. It really was a feast of creativity and innovation – with everything from blogs to apps and back. The awards are a delightful way to recognise these acheivements.

It got me thinking, though, about the difference between awards and rewards. Most Christian ministry is an award-free zone. We are a little afraid of such things lest they swell our pride, as Dave Walker has pointed out in the Cartoon Blog. In general we are more into rewards than awards.  In local ministry, though, most rewards are slow to grow and subtle to appear. The rewards from preaching, for instance, are rarely seen ‘on the spot’. In fact, we are probably a little suspicious of fruit from a sermon which appears before people have even left the church. Better, in the main, to see if the fruit are still there on Monday morning at 11am…or Friday at 4.30pm!

My conversations with award winners last night leads me to believe that there will be plenty of rewards too. They may not be seen this week or this month, but they will be seen. Not only that – but many of them will be seen on the far edges of the Kingdom as they draw people in. And one day, we shall find ourselves with those people at the award ceremony to beat them all…