cover image Following: Embodied Discipleship in a Digital Age

Following: Embodied Discipleship in a Digital Age

Jason Byassee and Andria Irwin. Baker Academic, $21.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-5409-6227-0

Byassee (Surprised by Jesus Again), a teacher at the Vancouver School of Theology, and minister Irwin team up in this insightful exploration of Christian discipleship in the digital age. Byassee describes himself as “the weird elder relative” to millennial Irwin, whose productive use of technology in his ministry inspired their investigation into “how the church can use technology with hope, rather than being used by it.” To that end, the authors unpack challenges of ministry during the pandemic and share stories of online encounters that helped meet real world needs. One pastor, for instance, met several elderly parishioners online at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and helped supply them with badly needed distilled water. Another recounts a church that paired youth ministers with “church grandparents” as an emotional and IT support network. Regarding social media, Byassee and Irwin emphasize authenticity and caution when engaging with others online: “Dividing the self into split experiences of reality is something we have seen go violently wrong.” Finally, they challenge Christians to view technology as a tool and creatively consider how to use it “to love God and neighbor more.” Christians who are skeptical about technology would do well to pick this up. (Aug.)