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Building a Presence Online with International Association of Chaplains in Higher Education

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26/6/20: I've just pre-recorded this (via Zoom) for the Australians stream of this online conference, so that they can watch whilst I'm asleep.

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Building a Presence Online with International Association of Chaplains in Higher Education

  1. 1. Dr Bex Lewis @drbexl Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing June 2020 The International Association of Chaplains in Higher Education Building a Presence Online https://stockfresh.com/image/3940801/faith-hope-and-love-on-digital-tablet
  2. 2. "If you want to build a presence in the social media platform, then you need to be present." - @unmarketing
  3. 3. http://www.churchgrowthrd.org.uk/blog/churchgrowth/growing_churches_in_the_digital_age Image: Flickr 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 … 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.
  4. 4. How can the church be a leading light within our society, if we are seen as irrelevant, refusing to engage with the latest technology? Can we lead by example, and show that we are not afraid to experiment, not afraid to fail? If we’re not in the digital spaces, the latest ‘public square’, then we can’t offer an ‘example’ to influence the wider world. We need to be part of people’s everyday conversations, and not just arriving when we have a message to ‘sell’. Sharing our everyday lives, in which stories of humour and vulnerability are particularly powerful, allows us to connect – including with journalists, who find spaces such as Twitter a useful hunting ground for stories, and to build up trusted relationships with potential contributors to stories. Lewis, B. (2017), ‘Social Media Fast for Lent? Not for Me!’, The Medianet, https://drbexl.co.uk/2017/03/07/blogpost-social-media-fast-lent-not-themedianet/
  5. 5. Bex Lewis: Church Times (26/6/20) ‘Theological questions have been raised. Are ‘holy spaces’ places that have been consecrated for worship, or is it simply wherever people gather (including online)? Are ‘holy people’ required to be physically present for specific liturgies, or can more be translated online? Submissions to the Premier Digital Awards show that many churches have improved their online presence, but the pandemic has presented new issues.’
  6. 6. https://medium.com/@craigphilbrick/co ronavirus-digital-tools-for-discipleship- 80ea4dd7970e
  7. 7. https://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/187891
  8. 8. Online Church? ‘It may be possible to set up an online mega-church of millions of people but it is more likely that a long-term online Christian community will be small and quiet rather than large and exciting, and may not be understood by the wider Church…the commonest question I am asked about online church is ‘What do you do?’ and it is hard to explain that we don’t ‘do’ church – we are church to each other, despite the lack of sacraments or a building, because we are committed to each other’s journeys in the faith and in Christ’s love.’ Smith, P. Online Mission and Ministry, 2015, Introduction
  9. 9. An ‘every member ministry’ [If we are…] means by which God communicates and reveals himself through his Spirit, then our blog posts, status updates, tweets, artistic images, and online comments should be products of a life transformed by Christ and indwelled by his Spirit. As restored image bearers, our online presence and activity should image the Triune God. Byers, A. Theomedia: The Media of God and the Digital Age, 2013, 196
  10. 10. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5 22-23 (ESV)
  11. 11. My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20 (NIV) https://stockfresh.com/image/6628352/email-send-button
  12. 12. http://bit.ly/SurvSocFaithSocMedia Phelps-Roper (2017) is an interesting example of managing conflict online. Formerly a member of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, she used Twitter to share the message, typically finding users “the digital version of the screaming hordes I’d been seeing at protests since I was a kid”. However, when some “friends on Twitter stopped accusing and started asking questions, I almost automatically mirrored them. Their questions gave me room to speak, but they also gave me permission to ask them questions and to truly hear their responses”. Their behaviour fundamentally changing the dynamic of their conversation, challenged her thinking, and she left the church (marrying one of her Twitter respondents). Phelps-Roper has left her early conversations visible on Twitter, because she didn’t want to whitewash her history, with her TED talk drawing attention back to tweets that might otherwise have become invisible.’ Lewis, Bex. 2018. Social Media, Peer Surveillance, Spiritual Formation, and Mission: Practising Christian Faith in a Surveilled Public Space. Surveillance & Society 16(4): 517-532.
  13. 13. Disinhibition “.. People find it easy and more comfortable to ask questions about faith in a private space online… people on social media are directly contactable in a way that has not previously been so easy; paradoxically there is a distance offered by the online environment akin to the screen in the confessional box” (p18) Taylor, B. Sharing Faith Using Social Media, 2016, Grove Books
  14. 14. Before you post…. Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash • God • Parents • Younger Kids • Employers • Newspapers • Your worst enemy
  15. 15. Vision & Values • What is important to you? • What do you stand for? • What do you stand against? Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash
  16. 16. https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/social- media/2020-techniques
  17. 17. Theological and Practical Actions & Questions • How do we role model engaging online with grace? • Rather than ‘returning to normal’, what can we learn from this time (asynchronous? access with disabilities? who is left out?)? • Social media focuses on ‘listen’, so listen … • What is the cost of not engaging online? • Where do you need to put your energy? Is there too much on ‘the Sunday morning sermon’?
  18. 18. Connect further: http://drbexl.co.uk/ @drbexl

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