Tag Archives: evangelism

Social Media and Ministry 2012 – Trends and the Road Ahead

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” Isaiah 43:19

Can you believe we’re already halfway through 2012? Now is a great time to take a look at the state of social media and ministry today! And perhaps, more to the point, where it’s going in 2013 and beyond.

The ubiquity of the internet, social media, and digital devices has caused a paradigm shift in how we do church today. Now, when pastors call out scriptures in church, it’s not unusual to see half the congregation reach for their iPads. And the other half pull out their cell phones! Whew, what a sea change! Not very long ago, to be seen on a digital device in church brought on disapproving glares and, in some cases, verbal rebukes! Today, even the Bishop has an iPad in the pulpit!

And even though the Gospel message of love and deliverance remains the same, new and creative forms of communications, fellowship, and worship are emerging in our churches. New ways of engaging our faith, creating and distributing content, and interacting, both online and off, are surfacing daily. Internet church campuses are connected by the latest digital technology. Church is no longer just services one day a week, and Bible Study on Wednesday night. It has become a connected experience available and accessible 24/7, online and off.  Case in point, check out the International House of Prayer (IHOP)!

The state of social media and ministry today is clearly displayed all over my twitter timeline: “Come get your church on this morning with T.D. Jakes Internet Church @OMARSHIN…” “I’m so impressed @ how older members of church have got in on technology! #justsaying @Kadeciables…” “Learning how social media could enhance our church. Imagine if all your fb friends could be with you this Sunday? #nwlc12 @kelliag…” “The church doesn’t have a choice of IF it will use social media only HOW WELL it will use it. @donmillerag…” “One church I went to when @Teracarissa came to town, the pastor was calling ppl by their twitter handles. Social media church. @Gbemisok…” The handwriting is already on your Facebook wall!

So, here are some of the major trends emerging in social media and ministry for 2012:

  • Church is becoming available everywhere at anytime with apps on mobile digital devices like iPad 3’s and iPhones.
  • The central role of video continues to expand, particularly with the streaming of live and recorded sermons, services, and special events.
  • Digital technology and a variety of social media platforms provide smart channels for networking, collaborating, mobilizing, and creative, dynamic interaction.
  • Online chats are taking on an increasing significance, especially Google + hangouts, and Google+ on Air
  • Networked churches with Internet campuses continue to grow and innovate.
  • Creative initiatives like Global Media Outreach, Multiply Movement, and Mobile Ministry are having an expanded impact.
  • More churches are establishing Pinterest accounts.

As we look beyond 2012, there is clearly a place for an expanded role in the church for such cutting edge technologies as geo-locationmobile money, and AR. If popular music artists can include holograms as integral parts of their live  performances, why can’t the iChurch use similar technology to creatively share and communicate the incomparable Gospel of Jesus Christ!

These are only a few of the major trends happening in social media and ministry today. For more, and a look ahead, check out the following:

How is your ministry using social media to connect with others, creatively share the Gospel, and expand your influence?

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

Stay Blessed!

Kenneth Lillard

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Faith Based Media (FBM)

“The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17

Media. noun, plural of medium, (usually used with a plural verb) the means of communication, traditionally used to refer to radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely: The media are covering the speech tonight.

Twitter,  Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube. It seems everyone is on them today. What do they all have in common? They are all part of what we call the new social media. We are entering an era of what some call the Attention Age where social networking employing social media is taking over. The old era of industial media or traditional broadcast and mass media  is declining. The faith community is becoming  more aware of this media transformation. It is beginning to understand its tremendous implications.  And it  is making serious efforts to comes to grips with it. 

The next several blog postings will deal with the basics of this rapidly evolving social media. What are they? How do they work? And how do they relate to the Christian community today?

Social media are media designed to be shared or spread through social interaction or social networking. One of social media’s earliest associations was with LinkedIn, which applied it as a business tool in 2004. When faith-based social interaction or networking occurs between Chistians it is called fellowship. When it is from Christian to the unchurched it is called evangelism. For Christians social media should always be employed in love, and used to the glory of God. It should never be used for harmful,  hurtful or ungodly purposes. 

One of the basic characteristics of social media is they are created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Generally, social media tools are available to anyone at little or no cost. Currently, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube accounts are all free. You can use them to reach one person, a small group, or a global audience. Christians can use these social media tools to share information about events, ministries, scriptures, affirmations, sevices, Bible Study, conferences, evangelism, etc. In a word, social media can be effectively used to fulfill the Great Commission of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. (See Matthew 28:19-20).

Social Media use internet and web based technologies to transform social networking from a broadcast (one to many) format into a social networking (many to many) format. So this allows for not only sharing information and messages, but also for interactive social dialogue. Instead of preaching at people, social media allows for dialogue between people to allow for more understanding, creative collaboration, and elaboration on specific topics,  situations, and solutions.

With social media communication can be instantaneous without any lag or delay. It can be via many forms including internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures, video, rating, and bookmarking. Technologies include blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP.

Social media transform people from consumers of content to producers of content. It supports democratization of knowledge and information.

Business refers to social media as User Generated Content (UGC), or Consumer Generated Media (CGM). The faith community refers to it as Faith Generated Media (FGM) or Faith Based Media (FBM). Without question, the potential for using FBM as a tool to spread the gospel, love our neighbors, and glorify God is virtually unlimited. This blog explores some of the many, exciting ways that Web 2.0 tools are creatively applied to ministry and the community of faith. (For more on Web 2.0 check out the excellent wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0 .)

Know who you are and whose you are. You were born for greatness. There is no limit to what you can do through Christ Jesus!

God Bless,

Kenneth Lillard

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