Digital Ministry

Blog posts that highlight the relational, networked, and incarnational of what Elizabeth Drescher and I describe as "digital ministry" in Click2Save: The Digital Ministry Bible.

09 December 2013

Make Your Neighborhood Your Cathedral (Video)

Posted in Digital Ministry, Emerging, Church

stmarksThis fall I was invited to speak as part of a series called "Conversations that Matter" for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA. I gave the talk live at the first conversation in Nazareth, PA and then we recorded it for subsequent gatherings. The invitation was to speak about the future direction of the church in a way that provoked conversation and reflection.

This 22-minute video called "Make Your Neighborhood Your Cathedral" explores something I am deeply passionate about and I think is vital to the future of the Church—getting outside our church buildings and being present in public local and digital gathering spaces, whether it is the local cafe or pub, Facebook or Twitter. (Email readers will need to click here to view the video.)

  

 photo credit: alag_pl on Flickr

18 March 2013

This is the World You Live (and Lead) in Now

Posted in Digital Ministry, Culture, Social Media, Church

You may have seen this photo published by NBC News about the difference in the crowd in St. Peter's Square from when Pope Benedict XVI was elected the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005 and the announcement of the newly minted Pope Francis just last week.

It is an image that dramatically captures the rapid advance in technology and culture—and the difference in the way we live our lives—over these last eight years. 

This change has profound implications for how we live, lead, and minister today.

stpeters

Remember that in 2005, the iPhone, the advent of the modern smartphone, didn’t exist. It was still two years in the offing. Facebook was available to college and high school students, but would not be open to the public-at-large for another year.

22 December 2012

Feast of the Digitally-Integrated Incarnation

Posted in Digital Ministry, Social Media

modern-pastry“And the word became flesh and lived among us....” (John 1:14)

Last summer, one of my Facebook friends I’ve never met, Tracy Pasche-Johannes, a fellow Lutheran pastor from Muncie, Indiana, and her husband, Jeff, were in my hometown of Boston on vacation. “We’re in Boston! Would you like to meet in person?” they asked in a Facebook message.

We had never met before and we had a pretty thin connection to start with: we shared one common friend, who, at one point thought it would be a good idea for us to know each other and introduced us on Facebook. We had observed one another’s status updates, messaged back and forth a few times, but that was pretty much it.

We agreed to meet up for an Italian dinner in Boston’s North End. Over pasta and Chianti, canolli and cappuccino, we fleshed out one another’s status updates and blog posts, putting a voice with our writing, describing our families, locating one another within our ministry and community contexts.

Over the course of the meal, all the words, links, and video we had shared back and forth on Facebook became embodied and enfleshed, and our digital connection grew into a deeper personal relationship. Our dinner was, in the Johannine spirit of “the Word made flesh,” a feast of the incarnation.

12 October 2012

Our Amazing Experience of Digital Prayer

Posted in Digital Ministry, Church

prayer votiveI've always been a big fan of praying for people on Facebook and I have done a lot of it, but it wasn't until my son broke his leg and needed surgery that I really felt the power of digital prayer for myself.

I've prayed many times for others Facebook as a care giver, but to receive prayers as the parent of a sick child was a different and powerful experience, one which I will try to capture in this post.

In short, it was like this: all those comments, likes, direct messages, as well as email and texts - they were each like a votive prayer candle that was lit for my son, and, though we are separated by time and miles, it was like all those candles were all lit in one place. My Facebook newsfeed resembled the rows of prayer candles you often find in Catholic churches and monasteries - visible symbols of the thoughts and prayers of many, bringing us warmth, comfort, and light - lifting my son and family up to God.

Thanks so much for your love, support, and prayers. It means more than we can say.

Here are a few other things I noticed through this experience of digital prayer: 

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!

14 May 2012

Digital Ministry: It's Not Brain Surgery

Posted in Digital Ministry, Social Media

BrainOne of the most common questions about social media in ministry — “How much time do you spend on Facebook?” — is quickly becoming an irrelevant one.

Today 46 percent of American adults own smart phones and nearly 20 percent of Americans use a tablet or e-reader. They manage multiple social networking profiles, spending upwards of 15 minutes a day on Facebook alone, and carry out many everyday tasks like shopping and banking online.

As the Internet goes mobile and we spend more time there, the line between our digital and face-to-face lives is rapidly blurring.

This integration of our digital and analog lives, whether we choose to embrace or resist it, is changing our lives and, therefore, the practice of ministry, in profound ways.

Today’s ministry leaders are called to be present and minister not only in person, by phone, snail mail and email, but also via text message and social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

I experienced this myself recently when one of my parishioners — I’ll call her Sally — had surgery to remove a tumor from the right side of her brain.

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