Connecting with Young Adults on Social Media

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on November 14, 2017

in Catholic, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

One of the most talked about topics in the Church today is young adult Catholics. Where are they when it comes to Church? Where are they when it comes to the practice of their faith? As we watch our active church members age, we know that the younger generations are not with us in large numbers any more. The world that they have grown up in and are now navigating is far different from the world their parents and most ministers grew up in and for many young adults institutional religion as they see the Church is not a priority.

The old days are not coming back and today’s world continues to change at a rapid pace with technology, globalization, economics, and cultural issues impacting all of us in ways that we never imagined. If there is going to be a reconnecting between the older generations and the older systems (Church and other institutions) with younger generations, then we older generations and institutions need to bring to our efforts what Saint Pope John Paul II called for when he called for a “new evangelization”, that is “new ardor, new expressions, new methods.”

Many of us believe that one of the new methods we can use to relate to the younger generations is social media. We know from the Pew Research Center that many adults under 50 who are on the Internet are on social media. Click on graph to view full size.

How do We Navigate Social Media as Ministers?

First of all, our parishes, our religious communities and ministries, need to be on social media—that is the new method, but we also need new ardor and new expression. Ardor means we bring enthusiasm and effort into our social media ministry and new expression means that we are posting content that speaks to the minds and hearts of our younger audiences in everyday language, not Church jargon or platitudes. That translates into much more visual content i.e. photos and videos and messages that are authentic and meaningful. And when this content is done well, it will also speak to the older generations as well. We have all become part of this visual world.

We don’t have to be wizards of all the bells and whistles of the social media platforms we use, but we do need to be comfortable with the basics and over time be open to learning more. We also need to be ourselves on social media, not acting as if we are millennials or genXrs, but as people whose love and care are inclusive of all generations. We don’t have all the answers. We are open to the questions. We are humble and respectful of all of our followers.

More about this in the next post. Comments are welcome.