Susan Nienaber of Alban Institute addresses the positives and negatives of email and church communications:
It is more than a little ironic that you are reading an e-mail message that is about to warn you of the dangers of e-mail, but here goes:
You may be familiar with—perhaps even have participated in—”parking lot meetings.” Those unofficial conversations (often held in parking lots following official meetings) that tend to undermine decisions, complain about individuals, and stir up discontent. They are extremely effective forms of communication, but they are not always helpful. In some important ways, e-mail has become the new “parking lot meeting. It spreads information (accurate or not) quickly and widely, it is impossible to stop, and it can be very damaging.
Many of us could not do our jobs without e-mail, certainly not me. I depend on e-mail to schedule appointments, share documents and stay connected with various groups. The Internet, with its e-mail and blogging, is an important technological advance that helps us work more effectively and efficiently. Many churches are making excellent use of these new electronic resources in very creative ways. Indeed, Alban depends largely on e-mail to communicate with you.
However, when a congregation is in the midst of conflict, the Internet, and particularly e-mail, can become a serious problem. Just about every church I consult with these days is dealing with the downside of computer technology as they struggle with conflict.
Read more about how email and the internet can be a curse and a blessing for churches and their leadership.