In Jesus’ day, most messages were shared face to face. Jesus touched the sick when he healed them. He talked with people as they walked along the road or sat on the hillside. His message of hope and love was passed verbally from person to person. We have no evidence that Jesus ever wrote a sermon or even a letter.
Today our face to face contact with other people can be supplemented with a wide variety of digital connections. The church web site or Facebook page may very well be the first contact someone has with us. As churches seek to extend their connections to younger members of the community, it is becoming increasingly important for us to tell our story and Christ’s story through social media, and to link those stories to the additional information that is available on our website.
For the past month I have been participating in a Church Website Boot Camp, offered free from our web host, Aboundant Church Websites. We were given 12 missions to complete during our Boot Camp experience. These ranged in difficulty from insuring that our website home page had easy access to the essentials like our location and worship times, to more complex tasks such as creating a graphic for the website using photo editing software and posting a video on the web site.
Periodically during the Boot Camp we were encouraged to ask questions and seek feedback from strangers who might fit the demographic we would like as church prospects. We also receive extensive feedback from the Aboundant staff on the progress we made. Sometimes the feedback made me a little uncomfortable, like being told I should no longer leave two spaces between sentences. Old habits die hard, but I am teachable.
As a self-professed learning junkie, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of each new mission. I will confess I often got behind on the missions, because website management is not the top priority in my day (and night!) job as pastor. I still need to prepare a sermon each week and visit at the hospital and care center and teach confirmation and attend committee meetings, and so on.
I believe I have been able to make some significant improvements in the church website over the past month. Now I would love to add some additional servants to our digital ministry team. Before I retire in June and move to Atlanta, I would love to train at least one more person to use Divi Builder to make changes to the website. I am also interested in adding another administrator for our church and youth group Facebook pages.
In addition to building our technical team, I would also like to enlist a few more people who are willing to take photos or videos at church events and to write short notes for posting on social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I invite you to consider where God has gifted you with the talent or simply the passion to reach our community in some new and interesting ways. If you are feeling the nudge to join the Digital Ministry Team, you can reach me through the website, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (641-755-2655 or 319-541-4003), so simply catch me at the church. I am there every Sunday morning!
Pastor Bev Marshall-Goodell