In “Using the Machine”, blogger Calvin Park* relates a story that reveals some of the amazing possibilities that social media and Web 2.0 technologies can provide a local church community.
One Sunday, the pastor of a local church preached a sermon from the book of James about helping widows and orphans. Near the end of the sermon, the pastor recommended an excellent book on the subject.
The next day, John, a congregant, discussed the sermon with his wife but couldn’t remember the title of the recommended book. So, he logged on to LibraryThing, where the church had a group, and located the book. John read several reviews and posted them to his Delicious account where other members could read them.
John then visited the church’s website and downloaded a checklist of things his daughter needed for the youth ministry’s annual summer camp. He left a comment on the page recommending the camp to other parents.
A few days later, the church’s youth ministry volunteered at a local orphanage. Some of the volunteers took pictures as they talked and played with the orphans, who really enjoyed the attention!
Some youth volunteers uploaded pictures to their Flickr account and tagged them “orphanage trip” and “fun times”. Word spread quickly through MySpace, blogs, and other social media platforms about the trip. Other church members were able to read about the trip and see the photos.
The next day a church elder uploaded a video to YouTube commending the volunteers on bringing the pastor’s sermon to life by putting it into practice at the orphanage. The elder confessed he, himself, needed to do more to assist widows and orphans. The youth ministry invited him to accompany them on their next trip.
The pastor realized that his sermon of the previous Sunday hadn’t just lasted for two hours. The church community had stayed connected, active, and engaged the entire week! Digital social media can, indeed, be a powerful tool in helping to build Christian community!
How is your church using social media to build community?
*”Using the Machine”, Calvin Park, Voices of the Virtual World
Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!