Digital Ministry Lessons from Bruce Lee

Regular updates to your website and social media platforms takes discipline. You need commitment to those ministries to post consistent updates. And there is a certain amount of tenacity required to tackle tough website issues. Another space that requires discipline, commitment, and tenacity is the martial arts. This week I take lessons from one of the greatest martial artists that ever lived; Bruce Lee.

In case you did not know, I am a student of the martial arts. From the ages 6 to 21, I studied under the late Grandmaster Jim Martin Sr.. I stopped training when I graduated college and left to start my career in the US Air Force. In recent years I dove back in to karate. I held clinics and taught a few traditional classes. The martial arts has taught me many things over the years. And my movie hero, Bruce Lee, has a multitude of lessons to pass on to us. Today, November 27th would have been Bruce's 75th birthday. In honor of this amazing man, I will show how his philosophies apply to your church's digital platforms.

The Way of No Way

Know that Bruce Lee's contributions goes well beyond movies. He set the groundwork for what we call mixed martial arts. Plus his study of philosophy shines in his writings on combative systems. He popularized the idea that no one system had all the solutions. Every person and every situation was unique. Bruce studied western boxing, wrestling, and even fencing. If a move or concept had value, he incorporated it into his arsenal of attacks and defenses.

Your digital ministries should incorporate what works best and discard what does not. Your target audiences may not use the latest social media platforms. Until they come around, focus on what works best. Conversely, you may notice a strong presence on a platform you are absent from. Adapt to your audience and get meet them where they are. There is no one perfect solution for every church.

Remove Systems

Bruce believed that styles were a thing of the past. A system of set of movements was too constricting. Plus blind devotion to that system held you back from other possibilities. Discipline was an admirable attribute, and rigid conformity to rules was not. He felt it limited your potential and led to shortcomings. Be open to what would help you win a fight.

Jesus was another man bucked systems and rules. His challenges to the Jewish pharisees was one of many reasons they feared him. We often require a fresh approach to faith. We also cannot follow overly strict rules on how we use of technology. I am not advocating we sin. But go against the grain. Find gaps in systems, and fill them with a solution. Some social media platforms have a reputation for how they are used. Find ways to redeem them and shine light into the darkness.

Be Water my Friend

In a famous interview, Bruce outlines how water conforms to whatever you put it in. Then he contrasts how it can be flowing and soft, or crashing and hard. A martial artist in a combative situation should be flowing like water. You expand and contract when necessary. You retreat from an attack. Then you strike with precision and force when the opportunity arises. You are always open to adaptation.

Technology moves at a blinding speed. Adoption rates can climb at alarming rates. Yet we do not always know what will be the next big thing. We must be open to change, adapting to situations as they occur. This is true of social media platforms as well as website technologies. Even consider the coming change that wearable technology has for us. Regardless, be ready for change. Retreat from known threats, and engage where your impact can be felt.

Action Item

I get inspiration from a multitude of spaces; hunting, skateboarding, and cartoons. I like to find connections so you will see them as well. There may be a hobby you can find motivation in. It is not a replacement for scripture. Nor is it an excuse to sin. It is an invitation to find examples of creation that can point us toward the creator. So take a few lessons from Bruce Lee that don't involve kicking and punching. Adapt your digital ministries to a new way of thinking and move the Gospel message forward.

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.