Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Social Media Strategy in Ministry can be the Wrong Approach

As a once aspiring journalist instilled with a love for writing, communicating well has always been a priority. Connecting people with ideas drives much of my life's work.

When I bought into social media nearly three years ago, I didn't see an opportunity for a high school reunion, but a better path to share ideas. An old idea was starting a business contracting church newsletters (I saw too many bad ones out there). With social media, making a better paper newsletter seemed like a waste of time, knowing that most congregations would linger too long in their paper newsletters, while not fully investing in new communication methods.

Dreaming of collaborating with other communicators in the church, I hoped to gather gifts, passion and good information in some kind of church communication summit. The passion or details couldn't be fully corralled.

After three years, scattered ideas and efforts have finally coalesced. I am thrilled to work with a nascent social media ministry workshop, working with many colleagues whom I have never met face to face, but who share a passion for communicating well using a variety of tools. Many people have been generous with their time and support of this project.

The language that will often creep into an effort such as this is that the information will provide a foundation for a "social media strategy." While social media strategy is not entirely off base, Seth Godin provides an important reminder that a social media strategy misses the point. If any congregation or person looks at social media as something to save their ministry, they'll be disappointed with the product. Social media is only helpful when used with an understanding of what it means for the people in your life and work.

Social media ministry is rooted in the knowledge that each person is made in the image of God, and never merely part of a list of followers, a commodity to be collected, or part of an audience for a product. A person created in the image of God is not a means to my end, but someone inherently valued and loved. Sometimes I get this wrong. I am glad to share with others information about social media ministry, especially if it helps clarify how we look at one another as people made in the image of God.


  1. Ok, I'm pulling the final 'graf as a quote for the #chsocm blog. Really spot on inspiring.

  2. I've been preaching the Revised Common Lectionary lately, but I've been imagining a sermon series on the imago Dei. I'm honored and thankful that the last paragraph has registered with people.

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