compass-explore-internetTechnology and the internet have become a common good. It has become a steady part of our lives, but has it really reached the potential we have expected it to have? We have enormous potential at our fingertips, but it seems like we are not very interested.

Back in 1994 I got my first internet account. I used a black and white terminal and I used the internet for at least six to eight hours a day. My phone bills were astronomical. But everything was new. Everything was exciting. The internet, though in black and white and text, was this huge new universe that spanned the earth and had an unsaturable urge to grow into all possible directions. Back in 1995 I blagged my way into one of the Netherlands biggest mail order furniture retailers and sat across their marketing director explaining him why they needed to take their business online. Needless to say that he thought I was a lunatic and that people would never buy their couch online. They went bankrupt in 2011.

Today the internet has become a common good. And we notice. Everything seems to be smothered in marketing. Money and opportunities to make money seem to rule the sentiments online. As a result, the internet is seen as a commercial extension of our lives and churches and Christian organizations keep their distance. But should they?

If we look back into history, it was the church that triggered people to travel and reach out beyond the daily boundaries. We still read in awe about Paul’s travels that took him beyond the outer edges of his world. So where are our modern day explorers? The internet has not stopped expanding. It is not like there is nothing new on the horizon. And I strongly believe that there are many things beyond the horizon that will change our world forever.

If I have to summarize the state of exploration at the moment, I can easily draw a picture. All of us are standing on a beach, looking out over the ocean and looking at an island that can be seen half a mile away. We look at it, longing. We know what opportunities are there and some of us talk about conquering the island. And we stand there.
What we need is someone to bang their fist on the table and say: “I am going. But I am not going to that island, because in my heart I know that behind this island is a bigger world. A world of endless opportunities. And I am going to go out and claim that for our Lord!”.

As a kid, I read about the great explorers. I dreamed of sailing those unchartered waters. And now it is our time to get up and be those explorers. Because I believe that there are great resources there, great new opportunities and many people that we can reach out to. The only thing that is keeping us from progressing further is the comfort of the city that we have built around us. And it is time we find our way back to where we can enter the jungle from our paved roads and mirror glass buildings. It is time to go. Lets go and explore and build the future on what we find!