Social Media in Ministry

I am looking forward to speaking at Synergy 2010 with ministry leaders and pastors on using Social Media in ministry. Synergy is all about connecting with others leading ministry and sharing best practices and resources. I need your feedback to create the most practical approach. Check out Synergy’s fanpage. Register today! Would love to meet you there!

  1. If you are new-ish to Social Media, I would love to hear what questions you have.
  2. If you have some experience using Social Media in ministry, would love to hear what is working for you.

Please leave comments below. It may help to know your ministry area, but it’s not required. Thanks!

Image by Wordle.

Small Groups and Social Media

Wordle: small groups

Are you a group leader who connects with members through the week on facebook? Are you a group director that has established a facebook group for your coaching team? Do you have a group twitter or blog? Does your group connect through online bible applications like YouVersion?  Are you a group that has created a ning page?  If you have other ideas… the rest of us small group leaders would love to hear them. Maybe you know of someone else who’s using Social Media to enhance their ministry? Please have them share their thoughts with us as well.

Just enter in the comments below. This can be an amazing resource for small group ministries!

Circles of Influence

facebookFor the past two weeks, my online group has reached out, and prayed for, twitter followers and facebook friends during our regular meeting time…inspired by our leader, Tony Steward, and this missional challenge from LifeChurch’s ChurchOnline.  We individually posted on both forums that we would pray for anyone who gave us a prayer request over the next 30 minutes. We responded to all requests by praying right then online.  We typically found that twitter followers responded to our tweets with their prayer request in a Direct Message. On facebook, we found we had more success initiating individual chats with online friends and offering prayer. From time to time we came back to our TokBox room (where our group meets) to share how things were going. We pretty much typed our fingers off lifting folks in prayer, and went closer to an hour than our intended 1/2 hour because it was so inspiring!

As much as I enjoyed, and was inspired by, this mission, it caused me to think about my circle of influence on these two sites. Please don’t get me wrong, I love praying for those who are in ministry and those who are following Christ. But wouldn’t it be powerful if I was offering prayer to an unbeliever? Or to someone wondering how people live out their love for Christ? Most people, unbelievers included, are open to being prayed for. twitter_logo_header

Church leaders, as we look to using Social Media as a means of communicating, connecting, and reaching out, lets remember to embrace (follow/friend) those who may not hold our same beliefs. Search out and accept people from all walks and beliefs. In fact, maybe it’s time to reconsider your circle of influence both on and offline.

Social Media Workshop – Sticky Church

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Here are a few notes from the Social Media workshop at the Sticky Church conference hosted by Suncrest last week. Countless media exist, and the experience of our group was varied, so we decided to focus on a few major SM ideas. Handout available here.

Why suggest the church use Social Media? It is a fact that being online has become a natural communication channel in today’s culture. Our approach is that we want to go where people are gathering, not just expecting them all to come to us.

A few ways the church can implement Social Media:

1. website

  • Podcast your sermon

2. blogging

  • Lead Pastor blogging tips from Greg Lee included: Find an Audience, a Groove, a Voice, a Conversation, a Partner

3. facebook

  • Create a church facebook page, invite attenders to join in

4. twitter

  • Microblogging tool that has grown over 1000% in the last year
  • Similar to blogging except 140 characters or less

5. tokbox

  • Especially good for online small groups – also demo’d at workshop to bring in 3 Panel members listed below.

tbsocialmediaworkshop1

Panel Interview – I met all 3 using Social Media

DJ Chuang (Upper Left)
Spoke on new technologies and helping church leaders become aware of them. He oversees Digital @ Leadership Network, a blog dedicated to this very topic.

Tony Steward (Lower Right)
Shared some powerful lifechange stories (from social media sources) he’s been able to hear in his role as online community pastor at lifechurch.tv.

Cynthia Ware (Upper Right)
Talked to us about social media traits/values shaping ministry. A few values she discussed were – Interactivity, Decentralization and Mobility of Social Media.

Social media is not an end in itself, but a tool that can be leveraged for Kingdom advancement.

Sold!… on Twitter – an update

appleIn a previous post I told how the salesperson in the Apple store shrugged off Twitter, in fact called twitterers narcissistic. Since this is the only Apple store within a reasonable driving distance, I returned there to buy my new computer last week.

I bumped into the same salesperson who said, “Hey you’re the twitter person, aren’t you? I’m on twitter now and can see the advantages of having an account.” I was tempted to ask him his twitter name to verify, but decided I didn’t care if he liked twitter after all.  Maybe he just realized it’s not a good sales move to poke holes in something you’ve never tried, especially when your customer mentions it!

Well, I have my new MacBook Pro and really like it, except I about lost my mind trying to copy and paste. ; )  Thanks to all my Mac-using friends who convinced me to change my “computer-orientation”, I now know – use two fingers on the touchpad. Still have to learn all the shortcuts. Feel free to leave me your fav ones in the comments!

Next item – convince the Apple store ‘geniuses’ to help us via web video.  They could do 1-on-1, and even classes remotely. Don’t know about you, but I’d much rather get help from home than driving there. They aren’t close enough

Sticky Church Conference

sticky09_conference07

Does it matter how many people are coming through YOUR front door if YOUR back door is wide open?

There are plenty of ways to get people to come to church.  Keeping them there is another matter.  Many of our churches seem more like Teflon than Velcro.  So what will it take to make your church Sticky???

Find out at the One-Day Special Sticky Church Conference hosted by Suncrest Christian Church!!

Sticky Church is a “can’t miss” event with main speakers Larry Osborne, Dave Ferguson and Scott Chapman! The reasonable cost also includes 12 practical workshops! Check it out and register now – just click on the picture.

Social Media Workshop!!!!
Live interviews via webcast with DJ Chuang , Tony Steward and Cynthia Ware !

I am thrilled to lead a workshop along with Greg Lee that includes interviewing three great friends I’ve made through Social Media.

DJ Chuang is a Director at Leadership Network, launching digital initiatives, and connecting multi-site churches, and Asian American churches.

Tony Steward is the Online Community Pastor at LifeChurch.tv using Social Media to connect with the internet campus community.

Cynthia Ware has served in pastoral  ministry for 20 years.  Her blog, The Digital Sanctuary, encourages Christian leaders to embrace and employ new media technologies to serve the Kingdom of God.

Hope to see you on March 31st!


The Reason Your Church Must Twitter – A Review

It’s not news if you know me that I’m a fan of Twitter.  In fact, I’d say Twitter was the smartest thing I did in 2008!  So, when Twitter friend Anthony Coppedge gave me the chance to review his e-Book, “The Reason Your Church Must Twitter”, I grabbed it!

Let me say it here, this book is brilliant!  With vision like his, Coppedge is a huge asset to churches who will listen.twittercover_small

Twitter has advanced ministry connections for me on a personal level, but Coppedge goes further and proposes using Twitter as the next mass communication tool for your congregation. Twitter can be set up to your cell phone. Messages go right from your fingertips to their cell phone. Imagine every group in your church receiving the messages intended for them in an instant. No waiting until they open an email, “if” they open it.

But Twitter can be used as more than just a ‘megaphone’, Coppedge contends that Twitter can also be leveraged as a conversation where the congregation is privy to the nuances of the pastor’s day to day experiences. “This “humanizing” of a leader is often a missing element in the connection between the church leadership and its congregants. Especially in larger churches where it is unlikely that a personal connection can happen, Twitter can personalize the pastor, or other staff with whom they are connected.

The simplicity of Twitter makes it possible to connect with your volunteers more often, and more conveniently. As any leader knows, connection with volunteers is key! Who wouldn’t want a tool that makes it so easy? “My experiences have brought me to the conclusion that ministry leadership staff should spend a good 20%-30% of their time each week connecting with volunteers in order to build strong relationships.”

Speaking of simplicity, Coppedge has included an in-depth chapter on how-to get started on Twitter.

Simply brilliant!

Look for “The Reason Your Church Must Twitter” to be released tomorrow, Friday, January 16th! It’s a steal at $5.   And for $5 you can share it with your volunteers!

twitter me

It’s no secret that I love twitter. And I am not alone! Twitter use grew by over 700% in 2008. So, my question…

Have you tried twitter yet?

If you don’t know why you should twitter, you need to see Scott William’s

50 Things Twitterers Like About Twitter!

See what all the buzz is for yourself. It’s easy to start, just go to twitter.com and sign up for an account today. I know you’ll be glad you did. If you already tweet, be sure to share this list with your friends who don’t.

Sold!…on Twitter

mall-treeHad a great time Christmas shopping with my sister Sandi this week. By the end of the day, our fingers were numb from carrying plastic bags heavy with presents.  Through it all we talked, smiled and laughed.  Oh, yeah, and we ate!  I had made a list, checked it twice or more, but there was one thing I wanted to check out for me… a Mac Book Pro.  Just looking I tell myself.

So we happened upon the Mac store where the knowledgeable salesman fills me in on all things Mac Book Pro. He’s friendly and engaging and any manager would be proud to staff him.  Of course he wants to know how I will be using the computer and the webcam that I was asking about, to pick out the one that will best meet my needs. 

Me…” Well, I’d like to be able to video myself to have an online small group.  You know, like a community who studies the bible or uses group curriculum to guide a discussion. We’d meet outside group time on Facebook and Twitter.” His face contorted into an odd grimace.

Then he got personal. “I can’t see the value of Facebook and I think everyone on Twitter is a narcissist.” 

Me…”Why is that?”
Him…”Do people on Twitter actually think someone cares about every little move they make? Do they really need to document it? I only care about getting information online.”
Me….”Hmm. Think of it as a conversation. Sometimes you have information to share, and sometimes you just have fun and laugh.  If all you ever share is information, you don’t really get to know the person, and it can be pretty dull, or mechanical.”

Here’s the real kicker, he admitted he had never tried Twitter! So how can you form any opinion without even trying it? The conversation, and the sale, was over for me.twitter_logo_s

For those of you who have not tried Twitter, I just want you to know that it has been the single, most valuable, thing I’ve done this year. I’ve made key ministry connections with people across positions, across the country, and all encouraging other kingdom workers. And that’s just the beginning. You can find people who share your interests and passions, and exchange information and stories. Twitter is a safe place to be as personal as you decide to be. If you follow me, I’ll be sure to follow you.

For my twittering friends, how about sharing below why you twitter- for our friends who are thinking about it.

Written on my PC.