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.
A police officer was shot in my city yesterday. He was responding to a robbery at a local jewelry store.
Twitter immediately lit up and tweets started flying about the incident from news outlets, community leaders, and residents. Most people used the hashtag #woburn - the general hashtag we use here for community information - to tag their posts. For the rest of the day, Woburn was trending on Twitter.
Twitter is one of the ways I've become more engaged with our local community and so I recognized many of the people who were tweeting.
I jumped in and started retweeting information. One suspect had been apprehended. Three other suspects were on the loose, considered armed and dangerous. It was a manhunt. Local and state police, SWAT teams, helicopters all on scene. Road blocks. Door to door searches. Schools and the YMCA were in lock down. Residents were urged to stay inside with their doors locked. The officer had been shot several times but was in stable condition.
One of the challenges for churches and ministers working in social media is figuring out how to build meaningful relationships with members, friends, and strangers.
In his book, The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk draws on lessons he's learned from working with customers with his wine business and translates them into some great lessons for life, business, social media - and, as I see it, church and ministry.
Its worth reading in its entirety, but here are four big lessons I took away from it: