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The Best of ‘SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS’ – SUMMER 2013 EDITION

Summer

Can you believe it? It’s Labor Day Weekend 2013 already! Where have all the sun-drenched days of summer gone? The  autumn leaves of red and gold will soon be swirling in the air. To mark the occasion, we have assembled a special souvenir of the awesome Summer of 2013 that we hope will bless you, and remind you of those much-too-soon-departed, wonderful days of summer!

It has been an especially rich and exciting summer at our companion publication, SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS.  For each of the past 90 days, SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS has offered its readers the best church social media news this summer, packed with information, videos, and photos of the latest, most-talked-about and interesting developments in the faith, social media, and technology space. (Click on the Archives icon to check out previous issues!)

Faith Based Media 2.0 is a faith-based journal of information, innovation, and inspiration. It is designed to creatively share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through social media and web 2.0 technologies. We’re always so excited to share the most exciting things happening over at SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS with our loyal readers.

So, we’ve teamed-up and pulled together this summer’s top inspirational stories, chats, podcasts, and thought-provoking opinion pieces from the June, July, and August 2013 editions of SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS.

As we say goodbye to the halcyon days of summer and eagerly anticipate Autumn 2013, we’re happy to present this unique, special edition of the VERY BEST of ‘SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS – SUMMER 2013 EDITION’. Enjoy!

What church social media blog posts, podcasts, or articles were you excited about this summer? Please share them here with our readers and become a part of this, our special, SUMMER 2013 EDITION. Btw, to get your day started right with an on-time word of inspiration and encouragement, be sure to check out FAITH and DEVOTION DAILY.  Much Love & Appreciation!

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

Be Blessed,

Kenneth Lillard

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The Best of ‘SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS’ – June 2013

SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS is a daily online publication which brings you the very best information from across the Internet on all the latest developments, news, and views in the social media, faith, and technology space.

It’s halfway through  Summer 2013 and we’ve pulled together the top inspirational stories, chats, podcasts, and thought-provoking opinion pieces from the June editions of SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS for your information, convenience, and enjoyment.  The following represent the summer’s hottest church social media stories – the Very ‘Best of SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS’ – June 2013:

Are there any June 2013 church social media articles, online chats, podcasts, or posts you would recommend to our readers?

During Summer 2013, stay on top of all the latest SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS by subscribing today!

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

Stay Blessed,

Kenneth Lillard

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The Best of ‘Social Media and Ministry News’ – May 2013

using-ibookstore-on-ipad-m

The month of May has been another exciting and busy time at SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS, a daily online publication which brings you the very best information from across the web on all the latest developments, news, and views in the social media, faith, and technology space.

Many inspirational stories, chats, thought-provoking podcasts, and insightful opinion pieces have been shared in this month’s editions. Here are some of the very best featured stories:

Which May 2013 social media and ministry articles or blog posts would you recommend to our readers?

Don’t miss any of the latest developments in the church social media space.  Subscribe to SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS!

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

Be Blessed,

Kenneth Lillard

 

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Churches Use Social Media in Disaster Relief #HurricaneSandy

 

Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc across the Jersey Shore, NY, and Long Island a couple of weeks ago. People immediately jumped on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to post and share their stories, images, and videos of the super storm.

Social media sites provided platforms for people around the tri-state area to map the flooding from Hurricane Sandy, and of course, help news organizations cover the crisis. Many took to social media to connect, share and collaborate around core needs, even as the region’s own infrastructure  struggled or totally failed. Local people even posted maps of open gas stations!

While NYC has a sophisticated digital initiative, NYC Digital, that sprang into action, local churches also used the Internet and social media to help respond to the disaster. Oasis Church in Springfield, NJ has been using the Internet to respond to the super storm,  including attracting hundreds of volunteers from across the country to help make the Thanksgiving holiday season a little brighter for those affected by the devastation.  And even though the megastorm has passed, many still need assistance, and much recovery work remains to be done.

Here are 10 ways churches can use social media to assist during disasters:

  • Use FB and Twitter as an early warning system for members and the community-at-large. Twitter, often, comes out with the news  before the news organizations.
  • Share news updates, storm experiences, prayer requests, and calls for assistance.
  • Use FB and Twitter to let people know how to prepare, what’s coming, and where to get help.
  • Provide links to official disaster response organizations like FEMA, NVOAD, local police and fire departments, hospitals, Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.
  • Create bulletin boards, using #hashtags on Twitter linked to FB, to post the latest news, injury reports, power outages, evacuations, dangerous situations, damage reports of churches and elsewhere in the community, relief resources, etc.
  • Prepare a crisis plan/ phone tree. (Btw, social media is actually the new phone tree tool.) Remind members to check on each other and those in the community, especially the vulnerable and elderly.
  • Use FB and Twitter to organize, mobilize, and publicize relief and recovery efforts.
  • Provide prayer and pastoral care for those whose lives have been impacted by the disaster.
  • Establish relationships and digital connections with relief organizations before the disaster strikes.
  • Prepare your plan for the next disaster now, and begin communicating it ASAP!

For more information on social media response to disasters see the following links:

72 Hour Lutheran – TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod Disaster Preparations and Response

Church Media: Being Ready In and Out of Season – Church Mag

Hurricane Sandy Resources: How You Can Volunteer and Donate – NJ.com

Instagram Users Share 10 Hurricane Sandy Photos Per Second – Mashable

Oasis Church Uses Web to Recruit Hundreds of Volunteers for Hurricane Sandy Aid– NJ.com

Recovers.org – Community software that helps organize volunteers, donations, and information during disaster situations

Texting Connects Families During Disaster – Orlando Sentinel

Social Media Aids Hurricane Sandy Cleanup on Staten Island – silive.com

Social Media’s Crucial Role in Disaster Relief Efforts – Guardian.co.uk

Social Media Follow Hurricane Sandy’s Destructive Path Up the East Coast – USA Today

Social Media Tools For Disaster Planning and Communications (Twitter Chat) – Church Social Media Blog #Chsocm

What Was Novel About Social Media During Hurricane Sandy? – Patrick Meier, iRevolution 

How is your church/ministry preparing for the next disaster? How is digital social media included in your strategy?

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

Stay Blessed,

Kenneth Lillard

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Leadership and Social Media Ministry

One of the primary roles of social media, as applied to faith, is to support and develop strong and healthy ministries that make a real difference in the lives of people.

One of the most pressing problems facing social media ministry is not staying on top of the latest technological developments, nor mastering the hottest, new social media platforms. It is leadership! It is developing a Christ-led vision for the effective application of digital technology in general, and social media in particular, to ministry and influencing others to embrace and implement it to God’s glory.

We live in a digital era of unprecedented opportunity and plentiful resources. If the church loses significant influence relative to other institutions in society it will primarily be due to a  lack of leadership. Church expert George Barna has noted that the Christian church in America is declining numerically. He stated, “the primary reason is the lack of leadership…Nothing is more important than leadership.”*

God is the Ultimate Leader and He calls every believer to lead others. “The LORD will make you the head, and not the tail…” Deuteronomy 28:13. This leadership role is clearly modeled in the Bible by Christ as the Servant Leader (Matthew 20:25-28). In social media ministry, the gift of leadership (Romans 12:6-8) can be applied to:

  • Creatively and effectively sharing the gospel, both locally and globally.
  • Advancing the development and distribution of mobile technologies to communicate the faith and to add value to others.
  • Facilitating the movement from monologue to dialogue, enabling engagement, interaction, contribution, and participation in the church.
  • Enabling others to discover and employ their spiritual and personal gifts.
  • Providing ministries with the digital tools and expertise to help build robust communities of believers, both online and in person.
  • Creating authentic relationships that promote true fellowship and service modeled on the example of the life of Jesus.

“Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.” ~ Peter Drucker. Leadership is about more than marketing, SEO, church branding, or promoting yourself or your ministry. It is more than having a “leadership position”. Leadership is about being the salt and light as Jesus mandated in Matthew 5:13-16!

The following links provide additional insights into the key dynamic of effective leadership:

How are you applying the leadership dynamic to social media ministry?

* George Barna is quoted from the Introduction of “The Maxwell Leadership Bible, Lessons in Leadership from the Word of God” by John C. Maxwell, Thomas Nelson Publisher.

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

Be Blessed,

Kenneth Lillard

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Instagram and Ministry – Telling the Story

New Life Church Celebration Weekend (above) on Webstagram

In the African American preaching tradition, “telling the story” is highly prized. Storytelling is very powerful. It captures the imagination and connects with people on a deep emotional level like no other approach can. Instagram provides a new and exciting way to connect with others online and tell the story of Jesus, and of your congregation in action, in a fresh and innovative fashion. It’s, virtually, a new way to visually share the Word!

A photograph can tell a story in ways words often cannot express. After all, “a picture is worth a thousand word.” People naturally connect with stories, and sometimes those stories are most eloquently told in pictures.

Because of digital social media and the ubiquity of web 2.0 technologies, the church is becoming increasingly more interactive. Many congregation members are already on Instagram, as well as Facebook and Twitter. And more often than not, they are connecting via smartphones, iPad’s, and other mobile devices.

Rapidly rising visual social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest are part of a new trend influenced by the shifting habits of technology users. They are moving toward greater visual social sharing. Why? Social engagement appears to increase when pictures are shared. In our fast paced digital age, pictures (with minimal hashtags and/or captions) can communicate lots of information quickly and succintly.

So, what is Instagram anyway? It is a free photo-sharing service, and social networking site launched in 2010. In 2011  Apple named Instagram, “App of the Year”!  In a nutshell, Instagram allows users to take photos, apply filters to them, and then share them with other Instagram users, as well as on other social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. It currently has over 100 million users.

Something surprising happened in August 2012. The average number of daily active Instagram users hit 7.3 million, topping Twitter’s 6.9 million. Pictures beat words! In addition, the average Instagram user spent 257 minutes accessing the photo-sharing site by mobile device in August, as compared to the average Twitter user who spent 170 minutes on that site during the same time period. Instagram has taken storytelling to mobile devices in a really big way!

So, how can the church tap into this remarkable social media phenomenon known as Instagram to help tell its story? The following are just a few examples:

  • “Instagram” church services by posting pictures on FB, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
  • Post pictures of baptisms, gospel concerts, and conferences. Behind the scenes glimpses at conferences and other special events are always interesting.
  • Use Instagram to creatively market your church.
  • Post pictures of small group activities.
  • Post pictures of volunteers engaged in community service  and other outreach projects.
  • Post pictures of mission trips.

For greater impact, help boost your Instagram pictures with these tips:

  • Try to get the best, most compelling original photos you possibly can.
  • Make sure you photo captures the essence of the story you’re telling.
  • Pull multiple images together in a collage using apps like Frametastic and PicFrame.
  • Deft use of hashtags and captions in picture descriptions can create compelling themes and tags to reinforce the story’s message.
  • Use apps like Hipstamatic, Camera+ and iPhoto to add additional pop to your pictures.
  • Finally, it’s the quality of your photos that matter most, not the quantity!

For more on Instagram and it’s many applications to ministry checkout  the following links:

How are you using Instagram to tell the story?

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

Be Blessed

Kenneth Lillard

 

 

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Leveraging Online Discipleship

“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Everyday, more and more people are coming to Christ over the Internet! It’s a truly amazing phenomenon! Who would have ever imagined that people would be giving their lives to Christ over twitter, through church portals on Facebook, and via church apps on their iPads?

The church’s challenge today is to effectively reach out and meet the needs of these new (and often returning) online believers. In our digital age, as more churches deploy digital technologies (including streaming live services on smart phones, and establishing internet campuses) there is an increasing need to extend discipleship training into the digital space beyond the traditional walls of the church.

The church’s online presence will continue to direct people into the church’s physical sanctuary to fellowship and connect offline. However, a new and unique church community of believers is emerging on the Internet – an online community that needs to be ministered to by qualified ministry professionals, familiar not only with the Word of God, but also knowledgeable about online networking, social media platforms and strategies, and the latest web 2.0 technologies! In no area is this need greater than in discipleship.

Christian discipleship is the transformational process that turns a believer into the person God wants them to be. It’s the calling of every believer – to follow in the footsteps of Christ!

We are instructed by Jesus, in the Great Commission, to make disciples. A disciple is a student or adherent of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Discipleship is the process of learning the teachings of Jesus, internalizing them, and then acting upon them.

The discipleship process begins with the believer desiring to be a disciple of Christ.The believer, with the help of the Holy Spirit, then learns what Jesus taught, follows through by living out those principles in his/her daily life, and finally passes them on to others.

The discipleship process can be described as eight distinct steps: 1) interest, 2) awareness, 3) decision, 4) commitment, 5) application, 6) inculcation, 7) transformation, and finally 8) replication.

Extending discipleship online (i-discipleship) through relational e-learning, enables churches and ministries to disciple more people, more effectively, locally, as well as,  globally. And, financially, the cost of i-discipleship is much lower than traditional discipleship strategies!

For more on effective online discipleship check out the following resources:

God is calling you to transform the world – one person at a time. What better time to start than right now?

How are you using social media to leverage online discipleship?

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

Stay Blessed!

Kenneth Lillard

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