Dr Bex Lewis, Digital Fingerprint
May 2014 for: http://www.churchcommstraining.org
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
The Church Front Door?
For many churchgoing is no longer the
‘cultural norm’. People don’t actively ignore
the church: they don’t even think about it.
Matthew 5:13-16 calls us to be salt and
light in the world, and for thousands in the
‘digital age’, that world includes social
networks such Twitter, Facebook, YouTube
and Pinterest. With literally billions in the
digital spaces, the online social spaces
presented by churches need to be
appealing, welcoming, and not look like
they are just an afterthought: they are now
effectively the ‘front door’ to your
church for digital users, and you ignore
those spaces at your peril.
http://www.churchgrowthrd.org.uk/blog/churchgrowth/growing_churches_in_the_digital_age Image Credit: Sxc.hu
We are not selling something to the world that will
make more people like us, believe in our story, join
our churches. We are trying to be something in the
world that invites connection and compassion,
encourages comfort and healing for those in need,
and challenges those in power to use that power in
the service of justice and love
(Drescher, 2011, 127)
WHY IS THERE SO MUCH FEAR?
Image Source: RGBStock
An incredible new
technology enables the
transmission of text on a
worldwide basis. It rapidly
reduces production and
distribution costs and for the
first time allows large
numbers of people to access
text and pictures in their
“Furedi suggests that moral panics have
a tendency to occur ‘at times when
society has not been able to adapt to
dramatic changes’ and when such
change leads those concerned to
express fear over what they see as a
loss of control.”
Image Credit: Stockfresh
Image Credit: http://www.jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk/video-assist
Digital Literacy (JISC)
“digital literacy defines
those capabilities which
fit an individual for living,
learning and working in a
Love thy neighbour?
What does it mean to ‘love your neighbour’ in a world
in which a ‘friend’ might as easily be the kid from down
the street you grew up with as a woman in Botswana
whom you’ve never seen in person and only know in
the context of Facebook status updates, photos, and
notes? … How can we negotiate spiritual interaction in
these contexts without losing sight of basic elements of
Christian faith expressed in traditional embodied and
geographically located practices of prayer, worship, and
compassion towards others?
Tweet if You Heart Jesus, 2011, p.xiv
Human Beings at
Image Source: Sxc.Hu
What (Biblical) values do we want to
see in our (digital) world?
Image Credit: iStockPhoto
What’s it good for?
• New connections via shared interests
• Building your “brand”
• Pre/During/Post Event Conversations
• Breaking news
• Asking questions
• Share good resources
• Sharing pithy statements/quotes
• Being “polemical”
“Twitter brings you
closer to the things
you are passionate
about - and for millions
of people across the
globe that is faith.”
What can you do on Facebook?
• Find friends
• Post status updates
• Leave public messages on the ‘wall’
• Post & Tag people in photos
• Comment on others photos
• Send private ‘messages’
• Join Groups, Like Pages
• Link to other social media
Facebook functions in ministry?
• Encourage Community
• Whole (life) Church
• Groups (e.g. 20s30s)
• Give others insights into ‘church life’
e.g. photo sharing
• Offer pastoral care
• *Youth: PM’s, CC parents/another
• Advertise Events
• A reverse diary (most recent entry first)
• A publically accessible personal journal
• Reflections, comments and hyperlinks
• Commentary/news on a particular
• Text/Image/Links including media
• Interactive, especially comments
• Potentially informal tone
Ideas for Content?
• “See what we’ve been up to”
• Thoughts & Reflections
• Reviews (Books, films, websites) etc)
• Challenging ideas for debate
• Interviews (Text, Audio, Video)
• ‘Best Of’ Content
• ‘How-to’ Posts
• 10 things you can…
• Guest Posts
Image credit: RGBStock
• Who are you blogging for?
• How often can you blog?
• What style of blog will you use?
• What content can you produce?
• What do you want Google to find?
• Who else can you bring on board?
Simple ideas for Video:
• Think of the STORIES you have to tell,
and how you might tell them –
• Events: Before/After
• Sermons: Quick Overviews/Responses
• People & Their Lives
• What can you “How To”?
• Engage with other’s videos:
• Comment (no flaming)
• Blog about them
• Add to favourites/playlist
• We also saw that, contrary to popular wisdom about
what goes viral, neither “difficult” subjects nor
fact-filled presentations scare people off. Nearly
20% of the people who watched a deep dive into
American health care policy thought it was worth
passing along to their friends. A powerful historical
video of a teacher giving her young students a
firsthand lesson in bigotry was viewed more than 3
million times. And four of the posts in the top 100
were about the important (but thoroughly unsexy)
topic of income inequality.
Agree a (flexible)
Social Media Policy
Image credit: SXC.Hu
• The principles applied to this are:
• Be credible. Be accurate, fair, thorough and transparent.
• Be consistent. Encourage constructive criticism and
• Be cordial, honest and professional at all times. Be responsive.
When you gain insight, share it where appropriate.
• Be integrated. Wherever possible, align online participation
with other communications.
• Be a good representative of the Methodist Church. Remember
that you are an ambassador for Christ, the Church and your
part of it. Disclose your position as a member or officer of the
Church, making it clear when speaking personally. Let
Galatians 5:22-26 guide your behaviour.
• Be respectful: respect confidentiality. Respect the views of
others even where you disagree.
Bath & Wells Diocese 9 Twitter Rules
• Don't rush in
• Remember tweets are transient yet permanent
• Be a good ambassador for the Church
• Don't hide behind anonymity
• Be aware of public/private life boundaries
• Maintain a professional distance
• Stay within the law
• Respect confidentiality
• Be mindful of your own security
Don’t overthink. Running through committees,
endless drafts and approval processes to get a
response out there can cause far more damage
than good. As long as you have taken the time
to assess the situation and can take a rational,
respectful tone in your response, even an
awkward response is OK to start with, and
buys you time to continue to respond to the