Information Overload

Social mediaI have a confession to make to my friends and partners in ministry about my time spent on the Internet. But it’s not the problem that a lot of guys from church struggle with when they’re on the computer. I don’t have the time anymore to keep up with all of the resources my friends and colleagues in disability ministry or children’s ministry are making available. And I bet you’re having a hard time keeping up too.

Several years ago, our team began to execute a plan to use social media to increase awareness of the resources we have to offer and to make connections with other like-minded Christ followers seeking to serve families of kids with disabilities. Based upon the responses we’ve received and the people we’ve connected with, the effort has been an overwhelming success. But I’m starting to wonder whether it’s time for something different.

When we first started our Key Ministry adventure at the end of 2002, one of our initial tasks was to scour the Web in search of anyone else out there doing what we were doing, and we didn’t find a whole lot of folks with similar interests. Google the terms “hidden disability” “special needs ministry” or “disability ministry” and thousands of searches come up. Many ministry leaders have become aware of the value of social media and generate lots of quality content.

One of the downsides of this proliferation of ministry content and resources is the danger that ministries can get into an escalating “arms race” in which leaders feel they need to promote more and more content in overlapping social networks in an effort to be heard above the “noise” caused by the volume of social media available. There’s also a risk of churches and parents who want to start ministry initiatives becoming paralyzed by the range of resources available to them through what’s referred to as choice overload theory.

I think it’s also easy for ministry leaders to get so caught up in keeping up with social media and measuring success in terms of Facebook fans, Twitter followers and website hits that we lose sight of the ultimate goal…sharing God’s love with the people around us in such a way that those people are drawn to Jesus.

Here’s where I’d appreciate help from those who read this blog. Our team at Key Ministry is going to continue to put out ministry content through social media, but we don’t want to ask you to look at what we have to offer unless we have reason to believe what we’re sharing will be of value to you. So…can we be part of the solution as opposed to part of the problem?

I don’t want folks having to sift through multiple tweets or Facebook wall posts every morning to find the the information they need. What knowledge or resources would be most helpful to you as a ministry leader or as a volunteer? As a parent? What would you like to see us do LESS of?

Updated August 28, 2014

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KM Logo UpdatedKey Ministry has assembled resources to help churches more effectively minister to children and adults with ADHD, anxiety disorders, Asperger’s Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, depression and trauma. Please share our resources with any pastors, church staff, volunteers or families looking to learn more about the influence these conditions can exert upon spiritual development in kids, and what churches can do to help!

About Dr. G

Dr. Stephen Grcevich serves as President and Founder of Key Ministry, a non-profit organization providing free training, consultation, resources and support to help churches serve families of children with disabilities. Dr. Grcevich is a graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), trained in General Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University. He is a faculty member in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at two medical schools, leads a group practice in suburban Cleveland (Family Center by the Falls), and continues to be involved in research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications prescribed to children for ADHD, anxiety and depression. He is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Dr. Grcevich was recently recognized by Sharecare as one of the top ten online influencers in children’s mental health. His blog for Key Ministry, www.church4everychild.org was ranked fourth among the top 100 children's ministry blogs in 2015 by Ministry to Children.
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3 Responses to Information Overload

  1. Doug says:

    Steve,
    As you wait for replies from your many readers, I would like to throw out there that this “information overload” is what many children with Autism and ADHD go through everyday. This “overload” leads them to make poor decisions, accelerate their anxiety to a point of paralysis, or retreat from this world into their own world where they can have a sense of control.

    I fear that when teachers, volunteers and parents encounter this overwhelming amount of information (tweets, blogs, emails, texts…) often on an hourly basis, they too may become paralyzed with “information overload”, not knowing what to read, who to read, or when to read it.

    I don’t have an answer for you but I did want you to know that this is a legitimate topic that deserves attention. I look forward to other’s responses.

    D.H.

    Like

    • drgrcevich says:

      Hi Doug,

      The role of “secondary networks” in the brain that process much of the background information in our environment has been speculated to be a common link between ADHD and autism. When these networks fail to operate properly, people with ADHD become overwhelmed with too much information and kids with autism struggle to pick up upon relevant social cues in the midst of too many interfering stimuli.

      Like

  2. SNAPPIN' MINISTRIES says:

    EXCELLENT POST, Steve! Social media IS a challenge that has to be managed appropriately. The way our organization has addressed this issue is to view social media as a “touch point” for those seeking help. John Maxwell consistently speaks of “adding value to people.” In the final analysis, anything we do in this arena can only be measured by how we loved people to Jesus one person at a time. I pray that you get some terrific feedback on this post. The insight gained from that feedback will bless ALL of us!

    Like

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