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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How is your On-Line Pastoral Presence?

Part of the “new normal” about the context in which we minister is the reality of social media. Whether we have fully embraced the likes Facebook and Twitter, or whether we reluctantly are coming to embrace these new ways of communicating, social media has become something which we ignore at some cost to our effectiveness in ministry.

For most of our students, one of their places of “residence” is the virtual neighborhood of Facebook and other social ministry outlets. For us to be unable to converse with them about ministry and social media is to not take seriously their lived context. Many of our students work with youth and young adults. Tweets and status updates are the currency of this generation.

So the question is not, “are we in favor of social media or not?” The question has quickly become, “how might we establish an on-line pastoral presence?” or “How might social media become one of the pathways along which we minister?”

These are the sorts of conversations we’ve been having with our students and supervisors lately, and I invite you to join the conversation here. Our pastors are telling us that daily or twice-daily check-ins on Facebook help them know their parishioners in ways never before imagined. Our students are teaching us that often, on-line communication is the portal that leads to important face to face conversations. Both generations are teaching us that one without the other (face time as well as an online presence) are important.

What are you learning about social media? About yourself? About how to authentically cultivate a pastoral conversation on-line?\

Please join our conversation in this space so that one day we might talk about it face to face!

Viki Matson

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