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:
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 short ad. The rest is all interview. Enjoy.)
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.