How Many Hours Are You Spending in Online Ministry Each Week?

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on January 12, 2016

in social media, website

clock-92130_640Last week, I ask readers of Catholic Web Solutions to answer a four-question survey. The first three questions identified their areas of involvement in online ministry. Forty-six readers answered the survey which is a more than 10% of my readership. It is also the same number of respondents to a similar survey done October 27, 2014. Therefore, I have some comparisons. While the number of respondents does not make a statistically valid survey (I can’t generalize to a larger population), I think the results are interesting.

The first question was: Describe your online ministry. Do you… (Check all that apply.) This is the same question asked in 2014. Here is a chart comparing the responses. (Click on graphs below to see them larger.)

Respondents Profile

The biggest change it seems is that fewer of the 2016 respondents are contributing/managing social media for a parish.

The second question was: Please check the platforms to which you have provided ministry content or have posted to in the past 6 Months (2014) 12 months (2016) (Check all that apply.)  There was very little difference in the responses from the two years. Here are the responses:


The third question was new in 2016: How Active is Your Online Ministry? The answers were based on average hours per week.

Hours Per Week

Thirteen or 28% of the respondents reported spending an average of 7 or more hours per week on online ministry; 16 or 36% spend an average of 3-6 hours per week; and 14 or 30% spend 1-3 hours.  Only 1 respondent indicated spending no time on online ministry and 2 respondents reported spending less than 1 hour per week.

Although I do not have data to support my opinion, I suspect that people who are serious about using their websites and social media for mission are spending more time on them each week as compared with two years ago.

What is your experience?  Is the time you spend on Internet ministry worth it?  Do you want/need to spend more time or are you looking to hire someone who can dedicate more time to it? Tell us what you think.

Next week I will comment on the answers to the fourth question: What would you like learn more about in regard to your online ministry in 2016? (Your response will be helpful in selecting topics for Catholic Web Solutions blog posts in 2016.) I received some very good input there.

Thank you to all who took the time to respond to the survey.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Pilar January 12, 2016 at 10:44 am

I believe that any online ministry is worth the time and effort as long as someone out there is getting something from it. But that leads to the question: How do we know if our efforts are making a difference?

I would like to see our parish develop a position for online/digital communications. I am also interested in how many parishes have already gone this route, how does a position like this fit into the parish budget?

If I could answer the first question, it would probably help to justify the “need” for more online/digital hours.

Jim McGovern January 12, 2016 at 3:03 pm

Made an error in my earlier answer


John J. Boucher January 15, 2016 at 12:40 pm

As a consulting and training ministry, we spend a great deal of each week online. I too wonder about the fruits of this work, but then I recall doing phone calls and one-to-one intake, and meetings while doing parish and diocesan ministry. We are most often casting seeds for a harvest that we may or may not see…

Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF, D. Min January 18, 2016 at 11:25 am

I am beginning to wonder if we are approaching online ministry as a “Collaborative Ministry” or are we continuing with a “Silo Ministry” approach. If we had a collaborative approach, I could see a group of parishes hiring a Social Media Evangelization specialist who really and truly understands and knows how to communicate to others using social media tools. This way – this person engages in a variety of levels: training others, writing and creating for social media, and engaging others in this parishes in collaborating in this ministry so that excellent content is created.

I believe the model of how to do social media needs to change from focusing on ONE parish to a collaborative effort of several parishes working together. Eventually we will have created a Network of Networks who not only evangelize at the parish level…but members of these parishes learn clearly that they are Digital Disciples sharing the faith with their network of friends.

It is time to rethink how we DO Social Media in the Church for Evangelization with New Media.

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND January 18, 2016 at 3:12 pm

Caroline, you raise some interesting points. I am going to give them some thought and write a blog post with my reflections. Thank you.

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