Social media in parish ministry

I’m leading a workshop this morning for a Diocesan Resource Day in the Diocese of Massachusetts. The title of the workshop is “What would Jesus tweet? Social Media in Parish Ministry”. My plan is to prattle on for 20 minutes or so and then leave the rest of the hour for questions and conversation.

Here’s some of what I’ll be saying. Whether it’s more or less than this will depend upon my coffee consumption.

  • Your congregation needs to engage with social media. In Massachusetts, there are three million Facebook users. That’s a big mission field.
  • Your congregation needs to engage with social media. As our church continues to skew older, that problem is exacerbated by a pretty steadfast refusal — by and large — to change how we “do business.” Social media represent a pretty easy way to start to do things differently. I hope, frankly, that it’s the leak that bursts the dike and that the church’s mission and identity is revolutionized into becoming more like the year 250 than 1950.
  • Your congregation needs to engage with social media. Did I mention that?
  • Facebook is a good place to start. Don’t get too worked up about institutionalizing it, because the social media channels will probably be completely different in five years. (Remember Myspace? Meh.)
  • Use social media to amplify in-person communities and to draw people into them. Facebook is not a substitute for in-person community, it’s a complement and a missionary tool.
  • Use social media to build up the Body of Christ. Have fun! Teach! Share the Good News!
  • Do not use social media to recruit members of your building committee, to tell people about your budget woes, or to sell tickets to your annual holiday bazaar. Facebook users (a) probably don’t care and (b) will likely tune you out.
  • Engage lots of leaders in posting content and engaging in relationship.
  • Give twitter, foursquare, and other channels a test drive. It’s free. See if they might work in your context.
  • Update regularly.
  • Your congregation needs to engage with social media.

I’ll say more, but that’s some of my schtick. Here’s my paper handout, plus some bonus links. I’ll add more after our discussion in the workshop.

I’d welcome your comments about what works, what doesn’t work, and your questions.

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1 Response

  1. Laura says:

    I DM’d you a link just in case it gets to you in time for your workshop, but I thought this was the best thing I’ve seen about why to use technology and how to start. I wish everyone in the church would read it.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2010/07/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-technology/60559/