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Grace and Gigabytes: Being Church in a Tech-Shaped Culture

Grace and Gigabytes: Being Church in a Tech-Shaped Culture

by Ryan M. Panzer


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Grace and Gigabytes: Being Church in a Tech-Shaped Culture explores change and ministry at the intersection of technology, culture, and church. In today's tech-shaped culture, we learn and we know through questions, connection, collaboration, and creativity—the networked values of the digital age. Drawing on experiences from a career as an instructional designer in the technology industry and a lifetime of leadership in the Lutheran church, Ryan M. Panzer argues that digital technology is not a set of tools, but a force for cultural transformation that has profound implications for ministry.

Grace and Gigabytes explores shifts in culture that have heightened amid accelerated adoption and use of digital media. Just as previous revolutions in technology have disrupted culture, especially processes of cultural "meaning-making" related to faith and spirituality, so we are living through a powerful revolution of digital technology, culture, and spiritual thought. This revolution calls the church to change. This needed change requires not so much a shift in tactics: launching a website, building a podcast, or starting a social media page. The change is a philosophical pivot: prioritizing collaboration, making the flow of knowledge more dynamic, celebrating connection and creativity, and always affirming the question. Panzer discusses each of these philosophical pivots, describing their technological origins. He tells stories of ministries that have aligned to this cultural moment. And he provides concrete recommendations for the practice of ministry in a digital age.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781506464138
Publisher: 1517 Media
Publication date: 12/01/2020
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Ryan M. Panzer is a learning and leadership development professional in the technology industry. A student of digital media and its influence on our lives, he is especially interested in the intersection of faith and technology. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife, Annie. For more of his writings and resources, visit

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

Section 1 Questions

Chapter 1 Asking Our Own Questions 17

Chapter 2 The Past: A Church that Silences Questions 23

Chapter 3 The Future: A Church that Celebrates Questions 33

Section 2 Connection

Chapter 4 Finding New Ways to Connect 45

Chapter 5 Redefining Offline Connection 53

Chapter 6 Integrating Online Connection 65

Chapter 7 Connecting with the Whole Person 81

Section 3 Collaboration

Chapter 8 Learning and Leading Collaboratively 91

Chapter 9 Collaboration and Faith Formation 97

Chapter 10 Collaboration and Shared Leadership 105

Section 4 Creativity

Chapter 11 Encountering Christ through Creating 123

Chapter 12 Creating Faith through Story 133

Chapter 13 Reimaging Church with Creative Messiness 145

Conclusion: Being Church in a Tech-Shaped Culture 155

Notes 163

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