Recently, I inadvertently started a passionate discussion around the topic of tweeting during sermons with this tweet.
This morning John Woodhouse is continuing his series in 1 Timothy. You can follow tweets at #MTCchapel – esv.to/1Tim6.11-16. ~ @stevenst
If you want to, you can read all about it here.
In this post I wanted to outline some of the back story and strategy around how my college uses social and digital avenues to further the gospel and the appearance of our college. I don’t write this so you will think we are doing digital and social really well. As you will see further down, we are just having some fun and trying new things. I write this so that you might feel encouraged to try some new things at your church or organization.
On a personal note. If you are serving as a pastor or minister in a Church, I believe you need to have a plan about how you will engage and approach the areas of social and digital media. If you church doesn’t have a plan, it can lead to un-welcomed and un-engaged people. I have found this, this and this to be very helpful as i have done some thinking about these topics. The plan at your church might be to not engage in these ways. I think that is actually fine, I’m thankful that you have given it thought.
Anyway, back on topic. I go to Moore College. Our twitter handle is @moorecollege if you want to follow us. The twitter account is run by a team of students and faculty. Our team is made up of @thebiblebasher, @const500, @delantyj, @timmyclemens, @WatchmanJames, @katiebolton and myself (@stevenst). The account was started on the 21st of April 2009 by ‘all around nice guy’ Dave (@davemiers).
First the back story.
Each year Moore College participates in an event which we call Moore Mission. Simply put, groups of students and faculty are sent out to various parts of Australia (and occasionally the world) to partner with churches in running local missions that proclaim Jesus.
In the past (up until 2011) there had been fairly good engagement individually on social networks about mission. The social networks that were implemented were the student run mission blog and individual peoples use of twitter. The topics of the tweets included things like prayer requests, encouraging stories of people learning about Jesus and some included personal tweets about things that individual students were learning from their experiences. While this engagement was good, it had no real traction in the wider college community. This lack of traction was partly due to the college not utilising its social networks to raise the profile of the exciting things that were happening during the mission and therefore the profile of the college.
It left some of us (students and faculty) asking the questions like, ‘Why we didn’t utilise these networks better?’, ‘Why were there no re-tweets from the college account’. These questions continued which lead some of us to another question, ‘How can we do things differently moving forward?’
Second, The strategy.
What happened after was the identification of several students who had professional backgrounds in digital and social media. This group were given the ok to try some new things on the web with the hope of a) increasing the online presence of the college and its activities, b) give a glimpse of the day-to-day college experience and the great things God has blessed students with; as well as the work He is doing through Moore College, and c) explore new ways of using digital and social media with a view to educating others about these things by example and formal training sessions.
While these aims may broaden in the future, this is what we are currently trying to do and we’re having fun asking ‘How can we use technology for the glory of God and the building-up of His Kingdom?’.
The article I linked to at the beginning of this post related to something we tried to do 2 weeks ago. It was related to the use of twitter to write notes and reflections from sermons and other activities where teaching is involved. While there has been some passionate discussion around this topic, I see it as a positive that people in Sydney are starting to think about how social and digital media can be used by churches. I say Sydney, because, for some reason, we seem to be a little behind the rest of the world on this stuff. If you are a pastor or a ministry leader, can I encourage you to think about the areas of social and digital media? Even if you decide that you wont use it. A non existent twitter account is better than one that is never used.
If you feel like you need some help in these areas, we are planning on running some Digital Ministry training workshops over the course of the year. If you’re a minister and would like to attend a student-run workshop, we’d love to have you.
You can register your interest on the form below: