21st Century Congregations
August 2018

My eyes have been opened. In a congregation for less than 6 months, and already, I know what it feels like to have a website that needs a refresh and think to myself, “Maybe, in August.” Because the demands of ordained ministry are new to me, I’ve come to understand a bit better where communications ministry might fall in the hierarchy of things. I suspect it is often in the “important but not urgent” category. So, rather than write a lengthy piece about the importance of digital ministry to evangelism, I’ve decided to offer a short-list of things you might consider as a new program year begins, and some new resources that might be helpful.

  • Fall check-up 4 Digital Ministry

It won't take long, but it will help you focus on some digital priorities for the year ahead in three key areas: website, Facebook and the Sunday bulletin.
  • Plan now for Social Media Sunday
This ecumenical celebration of digital ministry will happen again on Sunday, September 30.

  • It's a great day to have folks "check-in" at your church. Use both hashtags: #SMS18 and #Episcopal
  • Why not try Facebook Live for the sermon or the choir?
  • Lots of information and ideas may be found here.

  • Consider who does what.
It may be that much of this ministry falls on the priest. It may also be that parish admins carry some of the digital responsibilities. Consider Digital Ministry as you would Lay Eucharist Visitors, or members of the vestry. Identify trusted members who have the skills and interest in this form of ministry and then decide on roles of responsibility.

While we're at it, what if we commissioned Digital Ministers on Social Media Sunday?

  • Make your own memes, and infographics
Both Canva and Piktochart have a free level in which you can make original content. I love them both. Piktochart also allows you to create presentations. Most phones now offer an array of photo apps.

Image sizes on social media change frequently. Here's a great chart with all the 2018 pixel dimensions for all social media platforms - free courtesy of makeawebsitehub.com.
Check our Creative Commons Prayer for inspiration and ideas. The Rev. Kyle Matthew Oliver curates and creates visuals for the spiritual journey.
  • Digital ministry is a tool, not a 24/7 job
"Self-care and Technology" - a free webinar on August 8 addresses how to contextualize digital ministry as part of your life and work in the Church. " How can you create a personal digital sabbath or rule of life, and digital boundaries so as to NOT burn yourself out? Hear the stories of Rev. Keith Anderson and Andrea Rosenberg McKellar and learn about how they went from digitally overwhelmed to working on their streamlined online lives."
This seems more than enough for now, and I am grateful to our canons for inviting me to share some communications tools and best practices with you in the year ahead. It's important to remember that apps and platforms grow like mushrooms overnight, now. No one can keep up - myself included. It's about deciding what works for your communications strategy. It's also about sharing with one another. My next contribution will highlight some "experts in the field" - church folk who are using the tools and platforms in creative, engaging ways. So stay tuned for some digital ministry "shout outs" in the year ahead.

Paz y esperanza,
The Rev. Vicki Ix
Communications Director | Missioner
The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts | 413-737-4786 | diocesewma.org