In a couple weeks I'll be leading an adult forum at Redeemer on the phenomenon of social media and how we, as a congregation, are using it in our ministry. This may seem obvious to readers of this blog, but its not something we talk about all the time at Redeemer.
As I thought about what social media means specificially to Redeemer's ministry context something occurred to me, which helped me contextualize what we are doing with our website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and so on.
You may find it a helpful way in making the case for digital ministry in your own setting.
In this 50-minute wide-ranging interview I talk with The Rev. Chris Yaw from ChurchNext.tv about church websites, social media, digital ministry, welcoming newcomers and reaching out beyond our congregations. I really enjoyed the conversation, which we did via Skype. Chris has many great interviews on his site including Bishop Mike Rinehart, Phyllis Tickle, Stephanie Spellers, Maggi Dawn, and many, many more. The video begins with a quick pitch for the site sponsor. The rest is all interview.
QR or Quick Response codes are an increasingly popular way to quickly provide links and information to users of smart phones and tablets.
When scanned with a QR Reader App, they quickly convey contact information, website addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, calendar events, and more. Now, rather than typing in a website address, people can just scan the QR code and be taken directly to the site.
Our congregation has been using a QR codes for a while now. We include one in the Sunday bulleting that links to our Facebook page. This Sunday we took it a step further by making the entire liturgy available to people on their mobile devices.
I've always hoped for an alternative to all the paper we use on Sunday mornings, but I always imagined that the solution would be a technology that the church would provide - much like we do the bulletin. Now people are already coming to church with these devices - their smartphones and tablets. We don't need to invent or invest in the technology. We just need to make the materials available to them. Once you know how, its easy to do. And its free.
Here's how you can deliver your liturgy or any document to mobile device in four easy steps:
Many ministry leaders worry that social media will erode face-to-face relationships. Unfortuately, they use this as a reason to dismiss social media altogether.
However, if this is really the concern, wouldn't a more constructive approach be to engage in social media with the goal of building connections between digital and face-to-face? After all, people are going to be in social media anyway, with our without you. (Sorry to break it to you.)
Why not help people avoid this apparently worrisome pitfall by helping make connections between the digital and face-to-face, between our online and offline worlds.
I believe one of the major underlying reasons many congregations and pastors are reluctant to adopt social media for ministry is because historically we have had such low expectations when it comes to ministry leaders and technology.