Mobility, Technology, and Community
If you work with people and building community and have not read the book Refrigerator Rights, you need to go get it right now. It's authored by Drs. Will Miller and Glenn Sparks at the University of Purdue, and it contains fascinating studies and perspective on the effect that mobility and technology have had on relational connection.
Consider the following:
- According to the 2000 census, over 16% of the population moved their residence during the census period.
- One third of young adults ages 20-29 moved in one year—from 1999 to 2000.
- Nearly 45 million Americans move every year, and the average America moves every 5 to 6 years, thereby rupturing significant relationships with family and friends.
- Roughly one-fourth of America’s dinners are eaten while watching television.
- According to the Kaiser Foundation, during a typical year, the average child in the United States spends the equivalent of two months of television viewing.
All of these variables factor heavily in my personal ministry goals- to create environments where connections can happen. We experience 40 percent turnover at NCC each year. I can't think of many of our leaders who don't stare at a computer screen for the majority of their day. The way we relate to one another is changing. What do we do?
Randy Frazee might say to fight against it, to live counter-culturally.
I think I'm more in favor of embracing the reality and doing the hard of work of building community in the midst of the craziness. But I'm not sure how.