Most of us in the Church have moved on from rotary phones, but we know people who who resist, even oppose, using the Web for ministry. We have heard the reasons: no time, no interest, technically challenged, playing it safe, and so on. We can listen respectfully to their reasons. There is no point in trying to convince them to think otherwise, but the world is moving on and leaving behind those who don’t keep up.
Those who refuse to incorporate the Internet into their ministry are getting further and further away from those who consider the Internet a basic utility. Simply put, if you are in ministry today and plan to be in ministry for the near or distant future, the Web must be one of your tools.
What does that mean? At the least, it means to respect the role that websites and social media have in people’s lives. Encourage those who do know how to use them for ministry to do so. Be sure that someone in the organization/ministry with Internet and ministry skills is supporting the mission. Make Internet and social media skills part of every new ministry hire’s job description.
The Web is 25 years old this year and as we might expect, the first ministries to recognize the power of the web are the innovators, evangelizers and pragmatists. We can find these people in
- Catholic Organizations
- Publishing houses
- Religious Communities
- Individual ministries
- and in new online ministries such as Word on Fire Ministries and Busted Halo.com
What are they using?
- Facebook pages
- Mobile Apps
- Live streaming
- Video conferencing
- Digital books
- And others
However, it is not enough to be using the tools, we need a quality presence on the Web and that demands effort, time, training and skill. We have over the past decades become much more “professional” in religious education, liturgy, and other ministry fields. We need to do the same in the area of Web presence.
Three questions can help us to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of online ministry efforts:
1. Does our web presence offer quality content?
2. Do we engage our audiences?
3. Do we call our audiences to action?
Think about your responses to these questions and I will share my thoughts next week.
Your comments and questions are welcome here. Thank you.