Online Ministry Energizes The Practice of UU Principles
Online ministry is a shared journey . Inherit worth and dignity is expressed in blogs, photos, videos, etc. which share an individual’s beliefs and open them up to discussion and exploration.
See what church members are doing for social justice, spiritual development, and RE.
Online Ministry is compassion; pastoral care. Shut-ins; the sick; traveling members; the bereft; and the beloved who’ve moved all take comfort through the connection of an online church life. At a minimum, they worship by watching videos of the services
Online ministry is transparency. It facilitates democracy. Discussions, surveys, polls, feedback, and other online activities give a voice to all immediately
Online ministry affirms interconnectedness and truth with a 100-foot view of the inner workings of a beloved congregation. It is transparent. It is sacred.
Online ministry: green, multicultural, for all ages.
Significantly reduces paper usage; reflects our multi-cultural aspirations; and challenges truthfully; used by pre-teens; and octogenarians
Radical Hospitality That Invites a Future For UUism
Online ministry is radical hospitality.
It draws younger generations (40 and under) who expect an online presence for their communities and who participate online)
It makes it easy to explain Unitarian Universalism in a way that is readily understandable
Visitors know the congregation and ministers before they walk through the doors on Sunday.
Online Ministry confirms what “New to UU” curriculum teaches and provides ongoing learning with education classes that combine offline and online sessions.
It demonstrates how one can be part of something larger than oneself in the pursuit of doing good while also tending to one’s individual practice.
It enables lay leaders and ministers to welcome and hold individuals ways that show they care like, such as comments left in the profile pages of new comers.
Churches produce content already that can easily appear online Missed the service? Watch, read, and listen it. UUCA’s worship continues after services with expanded sermon content such as videos and photos, links to sources, related I Believe Statements, meditations, and readings. Expand & Extend the Reach of Sunday Worship
Online Ministry Energizes Members to do The Work of Church
Stewardship and Governance: Members record videos on why giving beyond pledges is so important. (See large red-outlined box in the image to the right)
Online Church Helps Lay Leadership to be More Effective
UUCA has many active groups such as VOICE, Green Action, and the People of Color Caucus
They have their own “chapel” or home within an online church. Their postings can be private or accessible to anyone.
Interfaith partnerships have a home for their documents, discussions, and events.
The Group experience online saves lay leaders time.
The Clergy And Online Ministry
An online church becomes a vital part of the clergy’s ministry:
Preaching is extended far beyond the walls of the church.
Learning of illness, emergencies or last minute events happens faster with online ministry because members online can contact the clergy immediately when something is reported.
Regardless of weather, Sunday services happen. Ministers video record the sermon and upload it themselves, if need be.
Getting to know the congregation is far easier because individuals share their beliefs, learning, and aspects of family life within the safety of the congregant-only areas of the site. Ministers and members create profiles which help others to get to know them better.
Posting a prayer or thought, or notice of an event by a minister inspires a spontaneous outpouring of comments, uploaded photos and even videos from congregants. A thought turns into a shared learning experience.
How Do We Know It Works? Usage of UUCA.org
Attracting New Comers
All 1,300 attendees of UUCA (930 signed members and 470 paying friends and inquiring friends) are registered.
But, there are exponentially more people who aren’t members of the church using the site. 18,000 unique individuals visited uucava.org between Sept. 13 and Dec. 31.
Heavy Ongoing Usage by UUCA members and ministers
70 percent of the UUCA congregation looks at the site regularly. More than, 30 percent of UUCA attendees, or about 400 members, contribute to the online church with blogs, feedback, calendar submissions, photos, videos, profiles and discussions. That is a level of participation that far exceeds the 10-20% of all social networking users who create and share content. The congregation has added 400+ videos to the site; written nearly 300 blogs; and contributed nearly 1,300 photos to share, preserve, and repeatedly enjoy all aspects of church life.
All three ministers blog at least once a month and more often than not, two to three times a month.
All three ministers regularly refer to the online church from the pulpit, in printed newsletters, in emails, and in conversations with their peers.
The online church is overwhelmingly supported and loved by the UUCA congregation.
UUCA gets 2-3 inquiries a month from other churches, ministers and interested parties about its website and how the church created it and can it help others around the country to do the same.
What does it take to create online ministry?
Church staff commitment
Board of Trustees commitment
Know-how: Easily taught and learned by just doing it
A lay leader of online ministry who coordinates, plans and makes the launch of one happen and either builds the network with easy tools available online, or hires someone to do so for a modest fee.
A content plan that outlines what content the church has, whether it’s usable online, what is need
A social networking platform
Photographer(s): Can be anyone with a digital camera
Videographer(s): Anyone can shoot video easily, especially with a tripod