23 September 2012

Social Media Bishop: A Conversation With Bishop Jim Hazelwood

Posted in Resources, Digital Ministry, Interviews, Social Media

Jim Hazelwood

Bishop Jim Hazelwood of the New England Synod of the ELCA is using social media to help make his synod more relational and his office as bishop more accessible.

In this video conversation we talk about the ways he is using blogging, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and texting to connect and tell the story of his synod - and to remind us that "we are the synod."

Bishop Hazelwood makes extensive use of video to document his travels, bring greetings when he cannot be somewhere in person, and share what's on his mind and heart. He also relates the story of doing a "Talk and Text" gathering with synod youth, recieving 369 text messages in an hour. His blog, Bishop on a Bike, serves as the hub of his digital ministry and provides a personal, less institutional, way to connect with the bishop.

Bishop Hazelwood is doing great stuff and his practice of digital ministry has great application to people in all ministry settings. The video starts after the jump. Enjoy!

04 September 2012

Don't Be That Guy: Five Common Mistakes Ministry Leaders Make on Facebook

Posted in Social Media

jesus-cat

Facebook is a great way for ministry leaders to nurture relationships, build community, and share God's grace.

However, many ministry leaders don't make the most of Facebook either because of their lack of engagement, lack of focus, or focus on the wrong places.

Here are five common mistakes ministry leaders make on Facebook - mistakes which undermine the engaging ministry presence they want to develop.

Please, don't be that guy.

14 August 2012

New Pastor in Town? Use Foursquare to Connect With Your New Community

Posted in How To, Social Media

foursqure chalkPhoto by dpstylesGetting to know a new ministry context can be a fun but time consuming process. Using the geolocation service Foursquare can help you get the most out of your time.

One of the first tasks a ministry leader has in a new call is to getting to know the local community. You drop in at local cafes, parks, restaurants, take in local events, drive around town, getting the lay of the land. You introduce yourself to ministry colleagues and local leaders, and reach out to local news outlets.

You want to understand the community in which your ministry is situated and your parishioners live - you want to let people know that you're here - and begin to demonstrate your consistent presence in the community. 

The goal is to start building a network with everyone from the mayor to the local barrista - a network which becomes the groundwork for collaboration, supporting the community, evangelism, and rallying together in times of need.

Foursqure helps take the consistent and demonstrable presence you are building in face-to-face meetings and extend it into the digital meeting places of your community.

10 August 2012

10 Commandments for Church Websites

Posted in Resources, Social Media

moses iphoneNow more than ever, it is essential to have a well designed and engaging church website. Here are my top ten commandments for getting the most value out of your church website.

Audience

1. Focus on Newcomers

Your church website's primary value is as an introduction to newcomers and then secondarily as news, resources, and information for members. Of course, there is overlap between the two. The difference is that members know where to find what they need. First time visitors don’t.

The home page and prominent menu items should focus on newcomers, providing the most crucial information on the first pages they see. Of course, you also want news and information for current members. You can place links/portals with this internal communication, especially administrative information, to the bottom or side of the page (and let people know where to find them.)

Help newcomers find your website on Google search using this technique.

25 July 2012

What Young Clergy Want You To Know

Posted in Church

listen handPhoto by denise carbonell

Want to know what’s on the mind of young clergy? Try hanging out at the hotel bar at 1:00am during synod assembly. Despite what you might think, it is a sobering experience.

You will hear comments and conversation that range from anger, frustration, to deep sadness. Many of my friends and colleagues, who are talented and smart ministry leaders, are really struggling.

It troubles me to see such worry and cynicism among my friends and young clergy. It is a good thing for the church when young clergy are idealistic and hopeful. It reminds us all of why we do this work. I have such compassion for them and share many of their frustrations.

If you happened to show up at the bar at 1:00am, I think they would tell you...

17 July 2012

"How Much Time Do You Spend on Social Media?" I Have No Idea.

Posted in Leadership, Social Media, Church

clockPhoto by Candie_NThe most common question that arises when I talk about social media is the question of time. In one way or another, people almost always ask, "How much time do you spend on social media?"

I've always struggled to provide a good answer to that question - and until recently I didn't know why.

When the question came up again during the discussion panel at the Massachusetts Council of Churches conference on Christian Unity in the Digital Age it finally dawned on me:

The reason its so hard for me to answer is that we are often dealing with two very different assumptions when it comes to time and social media.

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