Yesterday I highlighted some missed opportunities and future possibilities for my ELCA friends and colleagues regarding connections, learning and conferences. Today I learned via Twitter about an ELCA-sponsored conference: Follow Me: Sharing The Gospel in a 2.0 World. It's time to give credit where credit is due. I am thankful that my colleagues are using the resources available to them for evangelism and relationship building.
The promotional page for Follow Me is laid out well, offering opportunities to connect with Twitter hash tags, a Facebook event page and an invitation to blog. I think the event is worthy of its own Twitter account--and probably its own web page (linked to the ELCA site, but not necessarily embedded in its own brand). As of 1130am Pacific Time August 12, I read about 30 tweets from participants. I added each tweeter whom I was not already following to my own follow list and look forward to further connections, even though I am not attending the conference. I did not know about the conference until I saw the tweets this morning. Having a separate Twitter account for a conference creates expanded opportunities to attract participants--using those who are excited about the conference to expand publicity. What the Follow Me conference has offered is more of what I hoped for when I attended the Rethinking Stewardship Conference through Luther Seminary in July.
The conference target audience "communicators, campus ministry chaplains/staff, and college/university students" leaves me a little puzzled. I can understand the energy generated for those involved in campus ministry and young adults involved in higher education. "Communicators" is the hook that opens up the conference to many more than the other targets. "Communicators" is a continual growing identity edge for ELCA congregations. I'm not sure that congregations see themselves as shared communicators of the Gospel--they often look to the pastor for this communication. All congregations have a story to tell and now have many tools at their disposal to tell that story. My current congregation, First Lutheran Community Church in Port Orchard, WA, is learning that they have a story to tell, and how we can tell that using the tools available. The scope of public congregational presence is a flattening enterprise, and I see my current season of interim ministry at FLCC to help the congregation embrace that they all have a role in sharing the God's story through FLCC to the public and that they desire connection.
I find the Follow Me Conference hopeful--I wish I could be attending--and I'm glad I can connect with the material later. I wonder how the folks attending will connect with ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson. I wonder how expanding ministry tools will be embraced. I usually wonder what God is up to, and I am glad that the Spirit has expanded my wondering.