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.
Much 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.
One 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.
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:
If one of the maxims of digital ministry is "be where people are," then you need to be on Pinterest.
Pinterest is a social networking site whose mission is to "connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting." Launched back in 2010, Pinterest has recently exploded onto the social networking scene, boasting 20 million users, who spend gobs of time on the site and share lots of content.
It is now one of the top 10 social networking websites and it drives tons of traffic other sites.
I've seen this with my own blog. I recently started sharing my blog posts on one of my Pinterest boards and I already get a high percentage of my traffic is coming from Pinterest. This really got my attention.
Before you lament that you now have yet one more social network to keep track of...Pinterest is actually easy and fun to use and its has great Facebook intergration, so it leverages a network you probably already know pretty well.
Here's how you can get started using Pinterest in your digital ministry: