Why Bother with Facebook?

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on May 26, 2015

in Catholic, Facebook, ministry

Social Media as MinistryIf you manage a Facebook Page for your ministry or organization, you may consider it a tedious task, an annoying responsibility you wish you could pass on to someone else, or just a waste of time. But someone expects you to do it, so you do. It could be your pastor or boss, your co-workers, your members, your stakeholders, but someone is expecting you to deliver and once it is in your court, they don’t give it another thought. They may not even read what you post.

Most Facebook administrators start out posting announcements, promoting programs, perhaps sharing event photos. If you are lucky, you have someone who takes photos for you—that is a big help, but when you have to be the photographer, the copywriter, the graphic designer if you want to have a picture quote, as well as the one who posts, you don’t always make the effort. After all you do have a full-time ministry/job and you don’t have time for Facebook.

STOP! Managing Facebook or any other ministry-based social media (Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc.) is or should be a ministry. We in the Church have a long way to go before that will be true. It’s not going to happen overnight or on its own. It is going to take pioneer ministers using it as a ministry to finally make it one. Let’s not give up.

How do ministers use Facebook for ministry?

Ministers use Facebook and other social media platforms to enrich the faith, offer inspiration, encouragement, expertise and insight to followers. They use it to equip others to witness Christ in everyday life. They share joy and call attention to needs and issues that require a Christian response. They use it to celebrate the good the organization does or the accomplishments of members. They use it to open their world to others and to invite them in. They use it to be available to an online audience 24/7 and to respond and interact with them. This is true for parishes, religious communities, and organizations. A social media ministry takes time, effort and skill.

What does managing Facebook or other social media sites mean to you? Is it a clerical task that bores you or weighs on you when you would rather be doing something else? If all you are doing is promoting in-house programs and projects and never or seldom offering inspiration or encouragement, you could be questioning its value. You are probably correct to do so. When we are using our gifts to bring the Good News to others, we are energized and so are the people we touch. When we are bored posting, our followers are bored reading.  Pretty soon they don’t bother to read our posts.

Facebook can be an outreach tool for ministry—offering support to people who are trying to live their faith in challenging times and circumstances. We can use it to invite those who are seeking a deeper spiritual connection in their lives to join us. When we use Facebook or the other social media sites as a ministry, then we know its value.

Why does your ministry use or not use Facebook for ministry?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF, D. Min May 26, 2015 at 8:19 am

I’m reading Keith Anderson’s DIGITAL CATHEDRAL: Networked Ministry in a Wireless World [http://astore.amazon.com/interacconnec-20/detail/0819229954]. I just read the following…

“Today’s ministry leaders must be networked leaders. We must be bilingual, speaking both the language of groups and the language of networks, and able to help our faith communities engage networks within and beyond our doors in both local and digital gathering spaces. People of faith have an important role to play in these networks. We should be a graceful presence in our attentiveness, kindness, and encouragement of others, offering prayer, celebrating milestones, and sharing the love of God in so many words or clicks.”
For those who are interested in gaining the 21st Century Skills to be a networked leader, you are invited to register for the DIGITAL DISCIPLESHIP BOOT CAMP. Come to – http://ddbcformation.org/

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND May 26, 2015 at 8:32 am

Thank you for that quote. It is right on target. And thank you for all the work you are doing to help ministers become “networked leaders.”

Anyone who is interested in developing these skills should look into the DIGITAL DISCIPLESHIP BOOT CAMP. Info at http://ddbcformation.org/

Bob Lucas May 26, 2015 at 9:56 am

Well Said!

Fran Rossi Szpylczyn May 26, 2015 at 10:21 am

I think that I have said this before, but I will say it again. I was managing – and stressing about – Facebook at my work and home parishes before. In the end, I let the home parish one go, but soon to get a new start, and at work, I began to recruit ministers from various ministries. Now the page has a life of its own, and a far more vibrant one. Thank you Holy Spirit!

Sr. Maresa May 31, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Dear Sister Susan,
I needed this reminder, thank you. I am now over the 600 count on posts to my blog which, from time to time, I show on Facebook. I like to think that I am serving both our Faith and outreach, since maybe there is someone out there who will pause and really look with me at what is simply of God and put into paint. My most joyful days are when a post on the blog makes such a connection with a mind, heart, and soul of another, and he or she tells me about it.

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