Social Media

Social Media Category

05 June 2012

Social Media and the Call Process (Social Media and Pastoral Transition, Part 2)

Posted in Social Media and Pastoral Transition, How To, Social Media, Church

god callingSocial media presents those seeking a new call with great opportunity but also potential risk. Today, you must be digitally savvy not only to help land a call, but to manage your digital connections and communication during the interview, call, and transition processes.

Calling is a heady, intense, and disorienting time and often the last thing on your mind is digital media. I’ve just been through it myself and these nine big things I learned.

30 May 2012

#WoburnUnites Candlelight Vigil: Social Media and Community Healing

Posted in The Woburn Trilogy, Leadership, Social Media


My town was hurting.

The shooting of a Woburn police officer and the subsequent manhunt through the neighborhoods of West Woburn had left everyone shaken.

What you need to know is that just nine months prior, the day after Christmas, a Woburn police officer, Jack Maguire, was shot and killed under very similar circumstances - while intercepting suspects from a jewelry robbery. We were also just days away from the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The robbery and shooting had brought back the painful memories of Jack’s death to our collective consciousness. The memory of 9/11 loomed as images of that day were continuously replayed in the media. We were emotionally raw.

I was up early the next morning, wondering how, as a pastor and neighbor, to support the community in the wake of our shock and grief.

17 May 2012

Digital Disentanglement (Social Media and Pastoral Transition, Part 1)

Posted in Social Media and Pastoral Transition, How To, Social Media

tangled wiresMuch of the conversation around social media and pastoral transition revolves around whether and how to stay connected to former parishioners on social media. I address this in another post. However, I also want to highlight some of the other, less discussed, ways technology plays a role in pastoral transition.

One important step in pastoral transition is digital disentanglement - handing over access, control, and information about the congregation’s website and social media platforms to those that remain.

This can be a bigger job that we expect. Often, we don't appreciate how digitally integrated we have become in our ministry settings until its time for us to leave.

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.

08 May 2012

Five Ways Church Members Can Participate in Digital Ministry

Posted in How To, Digital Ministry, Social Media, Church


Member participation is absolutely crucial for effective digital ministry, and yet there is very little guidance out there for people in our congregations. Most of the advice focuses on the role of professional ministry leaders.

Member engagement helps puts the "social" in social media by extending the community, amplifying the Gospel message, and helping move away from a one-person one-message model of broadcast media.

Here are five ways members can participate in and extend the digital ministry of their congregations:

07 May 2012

Three Questions on Religion and Media for Professor Mark Vitalis Hoffman

Posted in Social Media

Spring2012 blog tour graphic

What are the core compentencies of digital ministry? What role do apps play in the life of faith? What are the benefits of blogging?

Professor Mark Vitalis Hoffman (website, blog), Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, takes up these questions as part of the LTSG spring blog tour. (More information and a listing of all the tour stops here.) In August, LTSG, in partnership with Luther Seminary, will launch of a new religion and media concentration in its MAR program. It's exciting to see our Lutheran seminaries providing formal training in this area - and that's where my questions begin:

1. As you've developed the MAR media concentration, what have you identified as the core competences that ministry leaders should have in digital social media?

Thanks for supporting this blog tour, Keith, and thanks also for your good questions.

“Religion and Media” is not only a very broad category, but it is also a constantly changing one. I can point to the outcomes we have defined:

  • Demonstrate literacy in a variety of media, including:
    • an awareness of the range and rapidly changing landscape of global media
    • the capacity to discern differing levels of authority
    • the ability to assess varying forms of authenticity
    • and the ability to communicate effectively in a variety of media;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how social practices of story-telling, meaning-making, and the formation of identity and community are shaped by media;
  • Be able to promote matters of faith in public life through media and provide leadership for doing so in their congregation or agency;
  • Be able to support constructive discernment and spiritual formation in the midst of social media; and
  • Reflect theologically on how media shapes the practices of their own theological tradition.
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