Facebook, Retirees, and Church

Robert Saler, Research Fellow and administrator with the Center for Pastoral Excellence at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, recently blogged about how his experience as a pastor of a congregation comprised primarily of retirees challenged his assumptions about their use of social media.  As a younger pastor, he entered the parish assuming that leveraging Facebook as a part of the congregation's ministry would require heavy lifting by young adults.  In his experience, those over Read More …

Social Media Benefits the Homeless

A recent study conducted by Art Jipson, a sociologist and criminologist at the University of Dayton, found that "social media  . . . tear down economic and geographic barriers to help homeless people connect to their families and support networks."  More specifically, Jipson learned that homeless people leverage free services like Facebook and Twitter to find food, shelter and job services, and to keep up with family and friends. All they need is a smart phone or public library with Internet Read More …

Virtual Connectivity

Writing for the Naples Florida Weekly, Ella Nayor explores how many congregations in Southwest Florida are using technology to connect people to one another and to the life of the faith community.  Clergy from multiple religions see value in leveraging technology for connectivity in a variety of use cases.  While some congregations have just a few dozen followers on Facebook, many have more robust offerings.   North Naples United Methodist Church's staff includes a cyber pastor (the Rev. Read More …

Religious Engagement via Social Media

While America remains a country with high levels of belief in God, most Americans are not talking about religious matters via social media.  According to a recent (July 2012) survey of 1,026 American adults: 13% have downloaded a religious podcast of a sermon or listened to a sermon online 11% have posted status updates about being in church 10% have used a cell phone to take pictures or record video during worship 6% belong to one or more religious groups on Facebook 5% follow one Read More …

Thinking Theologically – Social Media

It is important that Christian leaders understand and engage in social media.  This activity must include both learning about new social media tools and theological reflection.  Since finding the balance between these two is difficult, many have given inadequate attention to the theological component. Verity A. Jones,  project director of the New Media Project and a Research Fellow at Union Theological Seminary, recently wrote an article that should be required reading for every pastor and Read More …

Celebrating Social Media Day

Today (June 30) is Mashable's third annual Social Media Day. Several cities (including Tampa) have officially joined the celebration. Individuals can participate by  participating in one of over 400 meetups and/or joining the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #smday ( to view the live stream of tweets simply click here). So What? Social media is changing the way we connect with each other.  It is a frequent topic here at sowhatfaith: 15% of all posts are categorized as Read More …

Social Media Fatigue

Alan Rudnick, social media guru and pastor of  First Baptist Church ( Ballston Spa, NY),  recently blogged about social media fatigue.  Those who spend significant amounts of time using social media may find they occasionally suffer from fatigue and would benefit from stepping away from it all for a specified period of time.  Sometimes the signs of fatigue are all but impossible to ignore. Those unsure if fatigue is present would benefit from asking someone close for insight and/or using Read More …

Considerable Complexity – Social Marketing

Many congregations are rethinking how they spend their limited marketing/advertising dollars.  In most cases less and less money is allocated for print (phone book, direct mail, etc.) in order to free up additional funds for new media.  While this shift seems logical, the next steps are far less clear.  One of the troublesome aspects of entering this new arena is the considerable complexity of social marketing.  The graphic below, from Buddy Media, illustrates this quite well. So Read More …

A Ministry of Digital Presence

Keith Anderson, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church (Woburn, MA) and co-author of Click 2 Save: The Digital Ministry Bible (2012), recently blogged about the importance of social media for ministry.  He writes: As the Internet goes mobile and we spend more time there, the line between our digital and face-to-face lives is rapidly blurring.  This integration of our digital and analog lives, whether we choose to embrace or resist it, is changing our lives and, therefore, the practice of ministry, Read More …

Being and Becoming Virtually Religious

“Virtually Religious: Technology and Internet Usage in American Congregations," the latest Faith Communities Today (FACT) report, provides insight into the current role of technology in churches by means of an aggregated data set that includes responses from over 11,000 congregations affiliated with over 120 denominations. Congregational use of technology continues to increase: During the most recent decade (2000-2010) congregational use of email and websites more than doubled: email Read More …