Dr Joanna Williamson is a co-founder and director of One Rock International and SheLives. She lectures on Dialogue with Other Faiths at Westminster Theological Centre and coordinates MA in Public Service Leadership at Waverley Abbey College. Over the last 15 years she has travelled to over 30 countries around the world training leaders and mentors. She is an author of two biographies one on Hudson Taylor and one on Amy Carmichael, two amazing missionaries she has been deeply influenced by. She has also been influenced by the teaching of Dallas Willard and is a board member of Renovare Britain and Ireland and Sanctus in Germany. She is currently teaching numerous online courses in several international contexts.
Why are you passionate about digital?
2020 has not been easy as we had to learn how to minister and adapt to the new reality, but looking back at the last few months we are also amazed at how successful we have been. We went digital with all our programs and in fact we are running more than otherwise would be possible. We are having more impact and we are enjoying it. It is all because we embraced digital. We are still beginners and have a long way to go in navigating the online world, but we have realised it is not as scary and as difficult as we once thought.
Name a hero of yours and why?
Hudson Taylor and Amy Carmichael. Both were very innovative, both pioneered new ways of communication. They were ahead of their times. They remained open to learn and were adaptive throughout their lives; they became fluent in the language of culture they worked in. Amy especially was authentic and transparent about the struggles of ministry and life. She did not edit things out. I think both would use current social media to get the message across.
What can people expect from your session?
The session is for those who are new to digital. We will look at some assumptions we make about digital, but also some of the main characteristics of the digital world such as: digital is networked and interactive, it invites engagement, it offers a place to express oneself. We will dismantle the view that digital is passive, and also encourage people to think through their own approach and strategy on how to embrace and thrive in the digital space.
What most excites you about #PremDAC20 (other than your own session!)?
Seeing a new community that is forming around this very important subject, I am very excited about the international contributions and the breadth and depth of sessions. It is a great space to explore and deepen our understanding and practice of ministry in a digital age. I think a lot of us have fallen overboard in these choppy waters of change. I see networks and conferences like this as a lifeline that can draw us out of confusion.