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Social Media and the Church for URC


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90 minute session with URC West Midlands Synod, looking at Social Media and the Church

Published in: Education
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Social Media and the Church for URC

  1. 1. Social Media and the Church for URC West Midlands Synod Dr Bex Lewis Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing, Manchester Metropolitan University Director, Digital Fingerprint Tweet @drbexl 120/06/17
  2. 2. Does the church need digital communication? 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 2
  3. 3. 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. Tweet @drbexl 3 http://www.churchgrowthr h/growing_churches_in_th e_digital_age Image: Flickr 20/06/17
  4. 4. Dr Sara Batts (2013) @drbexl
  5. 5. "If you want to build a presence in the social media platform, then you need to be present." - @unmarketing @drbexl
  6. 6. Tweet @drbexl 620/06/17
  7. 7. 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, lent-not/ 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 7
  8. 8. "Emails, text messages, social networks and chats can also be fully human forms of communication, … it is not technology which determines whether or not communication is authentic, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal.” 13/05/17 Tweet @drbexl 8 francis-the-internet-social-networks- and-text-messages-are-a-gift-of-god- 2016-1 Pope Francis, Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Communications, 2016
  9. 9. @drbexl
  10. 10. The URC Digital Presence 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 10
  11. 11. 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 11
  12. 12. 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 12
  13. 13. 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 13
  14. 14. 20/06/17 649/ Tweet @drbexl 14
  15. 15. 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 15
  16. 16. The Church Online? 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 16
  17. 17. 20/06/17 is-changing-the-church-57405 Tweet @drbexl 17
  18. 18. 20/06/17 ye-faithful-church-expands-online-in-paradigm-shift Tweet @drbexl 18
  19. 19. Church: Broadcast Model Image Source: RGBStock@drbexl
  20. 20. Image Source: Stockfresh@drbexl
  21. 21. New Opportunities Image Source: Stockfresh@drbexl
  22. 22. persuasion/ Darren Rowse, @Problogger I loved working up a sermon in the lead up to giving it. Researching,looking at what others had to say on the topic, piecing together thoughts, looking for illustrations and examples (tangents) and then practicing giving it and making the last minute tweaks and additions in the day before Sunday arrived. @drbexl
  23. 23. #DIGIDisciple those who seek to live out their Biblically- informed Christian faith in the digital space, exploring both what it means to be a disciple in the digital age, and also how the digital age affects or alters discipleship. 2010-2015 @drbexl
  24. 24. It’s something about the informality and distance; the ability to pause and think, which can be difficult in a conversation; and the way discussions can pick up where they left off several hours, days or weeks later. Emma Major, BIGBible Post, 2012 @drbexl
  25. 25. Jesus often encountered people individually. Social media gives us the same personal access to people. This is an every-member ministry, and it’s exciting and inspiring. Rev Pam Smith, author, Online Mission & Ministry; Priest in Charge, iChurch Tweet @drbexl 25 how-social-media-is-changing- the-church-57405 20/06/17
  26. 26. Living Online? 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 26
  27. 27. &version=MSG 27Tweet @drbexl20/06/17
  28. 28. I’m a passionate believer that we need to be ‘incarnational’ in the digital spaces, whether those are specifically ‘Christian’ spaces or not, but that we need to understand how to be ‘resident’ in those spaces, rather than merely ‘visiting’ to do a ‘bit of reaching out’. Bex Lewis, May 2014 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 28
  29. 29. • I can't separate my faith from my actions, including those in public life. If people of faith are in public life faith is there too. @JennRiddlestone • How can you separate faith from your public life? Is private faith true faith? @loulou_uberkirk • If being a Christian is loving God and loving others, even if I don't announce why I'm doing something, my faith is unavoidably in *public.* @Hstanley_ Tweet @drbexl 2920/06/17
  30. 30. Tweet @drbexl 3020/06/17
  31. 31. Carl Medearis Relax, enjoy your friends. Enjoy their company along with the company of Jesus. Point him out, freely, without fear or intimidation. You’re not responsible to sell him to them. You’re simply saying what you’ve seen. You're not the judge. You’re the witness. 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 31
  32. 32. [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 (2013, 196) 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 32
  33. 33. Tweet @drbexl 33 20/06/17 Images via
  34. 34. Tweet @drbexl 34 20/06/17 https://s-media-cache- 9221fd4c59c1e8.jpg Posts that include images produce 650 percent higher engagement than text- only posts. Posts with videos attract 3X more links than text-only posts.
  35. 35. 35Tweet @drbexl 20/06/17 Facebook/Patheos Progressive Christian
  36. 36. Dr Bex Lewis @drbexl @vahva “.. 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) 20/06/17
  37. 37. 13/05/17 Tweet @drbexl 37
  38. 38. 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 38
  39. 39. What do you stand FOR? 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 39
  40. 40. “Technology should not dictate our values or our methods. Rather, we must use technology out of our convictions and values.” Dyer (2011: 5) @drbexl
  41. 41. 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 41
  42. 42. 24/7 Values? What do you stand FOR? • Authentic – be a consistent ‘you’ • Transparent – be honest, where’s the source? • Self-aware – note your ‘tone of voice’ • Integrity – own your own content • Self-control – be aware of consequences • Patience – hold the trigger finger before send • Non-manipulative – ‘love Jesus’ = send this! No! • Kindness – encourage others 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 42
  43. 43. Methodist Church Guidelines • The principles applied to this are: • Be credible. Be accurate, fair, thorough and transparent. • Be consistent. Encourage constructive criticism and deliberation. • 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. 20/06/17 holders/technology-and-church/social-media-guidelines Tweet @drbexl 43
  44. 44. Social Media or Society? Dr Bex Lewis @drbexl “If we don’t like what social media is presenting us [with], we should look at society instead, not just the tool they communicate with.” Caroline Criado-Perez, 2013 Source:
  45. 45. Seeing Opportunities 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 45
  46. 46. Pokemon? 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 46
  47. 47. 20/06/17 joining-in-with-pokemission.html Tweet @drbexl 47
  48. 48. Tweet @drbexl 48 20/06/17
  49. 49. 20/06/17 4-faith-and-social-media Tweet @drbexl 49
  50. 50. What can YOU do? • Current church use? • Define personas? • Potential church use? • Underlying values? • Potential sermon topics? 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 50
  51. 51. Saint Teresa of Avila (adapted by Meredith Gould, 2010) 20/06/17 t-has-no-online-presence-but-yours.html Tweet @drbexl 51 Christ Has No Online Presence but Yours Christ has no online presence but yours, No blog, no Facebook page but yours, Yours are the tweets through which love touches this world, Yours are the posts through which the Gospel is shared, Yours are the updates through which hope is revealed. Christ has no online presence but yours, No blog, no Facebook page but yours.
  52. 52. Q&A 20/06/17 Tweet @drbexl 52 HTTP://BIT.LY/URC_WM_SYNOD2