The latest numbers for mobile show that there are something like 5.5 billion mobile devices out there. That’s a whole lot of opportunity, but its only a statement of having a tool. What does it mean for you to take that tool and have access to improve your or your communitiy’s lifestyle:
…Everybody loves memes and those who work in or care about international development are no exception. One meme that popped up early 2010, is the oft-quoted “there are more mobile phones than toilets.” Apparently, the origin of the phrase was the India census. Subsequently, the statistic was used to raise a point about water and sanitation in India by a UN institute. It was picked up in a New York Times article and became generalized to “more people have [access to] mobile phones than toilets” and “there are more mobile phones than toilets” and other variations.
This simple idea has captured the hearts and minds of many development and technology practitioners and theorists the world over. The phrase has become a staple illustration for those who are looking at the potential of mobiles to change the world. But there is more to it than simple ‘access.’ We need to think beyond access…
Personally, I like using that statistic for illustation, but it doesn’t always come within that context of doing a bit more than just having a mobile. All of us doing mobile ministry would be wise to keep this in mind. And then those of us looking to put the Gospel in a mobile context should also pay attention to life beyond the proclaimation – what does the Gospel (reading, listening, sharing, etc.) on a mobile device enable for someone besides the [necessary] eternal reward of fellowship with God? The paradox of mobile ministry is just that – its not just having a magic wand, but access to something specific that enables life to be given to another.