Thursday, August 21, 2014

eformation- Don't Count the Boomers Out




 #10 in the eformation Series

"The boomers, who have tread new ground
 and changed the landscape of culture and society
 throughout their lifespan
 are rapidly tipping into retirement.
 Being adventuresome, many are on the cutting edge
 of technology. At the same time, they are discovering
 the physical, emotional, and psychological changes
 that occur as they grow older and live longer.
 What does the church offer this group? 
And more specifically, 
what is the role of digital ministry
 in fostering communications, building relationships, 
and exploring spirituality among adults 65-100?"
 Dorothy Lithicum - Program Coordinator and Instructor
 for the Center for the Ministry of Teaching
 at  Virginia Theological Seminary



Every age and stage of life
 is God-ordained and therefore has a purpose.

Some workshop gleanings:

The Unites States has more people 65+
than the entire population of CANADA.

As many people 75+ leave our churches
 as the youth after Confirmation.

This is the reason for the growth of boomers
 becoming internet savvy and learning
 about social media tools-
GRANDCHILDREN.

The fastest growing group of internet users
 is the group 75+
 because of this new generation
 of grands and great-grands.

 Health reasons often become the reason
older adults no longer can attend Bible Studies
 and worship services. 
They are seeking internet resources
 for faith encouragement and spiritual growth tools.
It is no longer a once a month Communion
 visit from clergy 
that keeps them connected to "church".

Having resources for them to "SHARE"
 among friends 
lets them know they are not
 a forgotten slice of the population.


The Passing of Faith from One Generation 
to the Next is the Greatest Gift
 we Give to both the Boomers and the Builders.

Five Practices for Ministries for Boomers
Make it:
Adventurous
Fun
Significant
Educational
Spiritual
                                 John Roberto

Social Media connections can be built in
 as a basic part of Boomer Ministry.



Visual social media- Facebook and Pinterest
are two of the fastest growing sites for Boomers.

Often the Boomers want to be SHOWN HOW
 to use social media tools.
They are not digital natives,
 so find it less intuitive. 

As they have learned that to keep
 in the communication loop, 
they must set out to "KEEP UP",
 they form a highly motivated group.

And they "get it" -
when the church talks about deploying
digital missionaries.





Monday, August 18, 2014

eformation- When the Church Leads


#9 in the eformation Series

Some collected notes here for church leaders
and layleaders
from the eformation conference 2014.
eformationvts

The main purpose of online ministry:
 Educate Encourage and Equip.

The primary audience for online ministry is :
1) existing congregants
2) the other relationships their congregants have.
(The church has said for awhile
 that it is the unchurched,
 but the reality proves that it is relationship driven.
It is the friends of the members.)

The main job of church leaders
 is to get OTHERS
to do the social media.

The ministry markers of
 interaction points include:
the public setting- (worship,
teaching settings, even church meetings)
 email,
 phone, social media,
 back channel-
(private notes on social media)
 and IRL-in real life,
(chatting over coffee at Starbucks).
ALL of these venues become settings
 for conversations and engagement
 that connect to a leader's circle of influence.
ALL of these connections
 can have spiritual forming
opportunities.

 Social media success today depends on 
thinking VISUALLY about goals and message.

Art has always been a gateway to the sacred-
it is effective in social media connections.

Consistent branding across all profiles
 is necessary to build recognizable connections.

Engage a few key participants
 that will participate by sharing posts
 on their own social media sites.

It is important to do tagging
 with keywords and #hashtags.

Pace posts.
A Facebook page that has been dormant
 for a month is as good as nonexistent.

Groups are not necessarily community.

Social media communication
 has disbanded space, time,
 and age boundaries for engagement.


If you are posting-
then it is important to comment on other posts-
after all it is SOCIAL media.

The most critical aspect for planning is to make sure that:
STRATEGY, AUDIENCE, GOAL and MESSAGE
is determined BEFORE:
TACTICS of WHEN, WHERE, and HOW.

The liturgical calendar
 is the best organizational tool
 for bringing help to families in your community.
Think about bringing them faith formation tools 
that are SEASONAL,
 not weekly.

  Be realistic about what families
 might be able to participate in/add to family life living.

In every aspect of social media engagement:
Cover all plans in PRAYER, and
 trust the work of the HOLY SPIRIT.
 Remember that you are doing
 more than sharing information-
you are creating SACRED SPACE online.

Notes taken from sessions with:
Meredith Gould, Sharon Ely Pearson,
John Roberto, Tom Tomaszek



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

eformation- your online PRESENCE


#8 in the eformation Series

Wading into the write, like, publish, share and
 comment world online takes a bit of
getting used to the rhythm of digital media.
It can have a life of its own.
That can be good and bad-
in the networked super highway.

My dip into the blogging world
 happened nearly five years ago. 
My early connections were some personal blogs 
that were more like spewing,
 ranting and raving discourses and I quickly left that- 
vowing never to return.

Then, when the visual world
 began to catch up to the written word-
I was drawn in, and hooked.

 Looking for the stories of online PRESENCE-
 that brought HOPE, HELP, 
 with words of encouragement.

Surely someone was online
 already offering that voice?
Women writers…
Lutheran….
single and married…
mommas and not…
on the journey?

It has been a daunting task
 to discover where they are…
to listen for their heart…..
On the right side of my blog is-
 MY  BLOG LIST.
The list of some blogs worthy of following, 
that have a spiritual forming purpose.
They are in order of their most recent posts.

Not all female. Not all Lutheran.
But valid, and valuable voices
 for reading
 and listening
to their small pieces of life-learned lessons.



What I have learned in the three years
 of online presence-
is that it is VERY IMPORTANT to decide-
 HOW I will be online.
 Not fake, but always with words that build up, 
and never tear down.
The careful voice of mentoring
 given to 3 daughters growing up,
 applies here online too.
Grace always,
  the beginning and end, in all things shared.

There are always multiple points of view.
 What is one piece of information
 that might change how we see another's story?

What is CHRISTLIKE-
the picture of this transformative journey
 that we have been on since our Baptism?

And finally- do my words bless others?
No other posture is worth the time, energy,
 and space
 in my daily conversations
 or the ones that fill the internet.

 Our spiritual formation
 impacted with digital connections 
is eformation.
May our PRESENCE-
be Christlike,
 bless others, 
encourage and build one another up.


 Don’t use foul or abusive language. 
Let everything you say be good and helpful,
 so that your words will be an encouragement 
to those who hear them.
Ephesians 4:29  NLT










Monday, August 11, 2014

eformation- Create and Curate



#7 in the eformation Series

At the eformation conference one of the
 helpful insights for tending, 
and monitoring the world of digital social media
 is understanding the two basic formats
 for sharing information.

Without content,
 not very much can happen socially online.
There needs to be content that generates 
what digital strategists call engagement, 
or interaction.

There are CONTENT CREATORS-
 who develop content- photos, stories, videos
and then SHARE.

 There are CONTENT CURATORS-
who scroll through
 vast amounts of the internet-
filter, promote, edit, analyze, credit,
and then SHARE.


Although the Christian world
 is certainly planted firmly in the digital world,
the masses do look to their churches and leaders
 to help them 
wade through the massive amount of information
 available in today's world.
Who is their trusted resource?
Church leaders- you are influential, 
whether you have picked up that title
 in the social media world or not.
Your lack of engagement only sends members
 looking elsewhere.
A social media void in your online presence speaks -
 LOUD and CLEAR.

Meridith Gould in her book The Social Media Gospel,
has wonderful help for both churches and leaders
 to steer them into the digital sharing age.

At the conference, Meredith stated that the conversation
 is no longer-" Should we be on Facebook?", 
but "How do we integrate our social media presence?"
"How do we measure our success?"

The reason for having a digital social presence
 is NOT to get more people sitting in the pews.
(though that CAN happen)
It is NOT to simply promote event,
 after event, after event.

"In the world of church,
 we need to create and curate content
 in the joyful hope of sharing the Gospel, 
ministering to others, and developing community,"
 says Gould.


Where in the world are you?
How do you (or your church)
 interact with your neighboring area?
What is THAT story?
How do you navigate living as Christian
 in a non-Chrisitan world?

Gould explains: "In the world of social media,
 quality social media content
INFORMS, EDUCATES, and INSPIRES
 action that's Christ-centered and anchored
 in Gospel values. 
With a reverential nod to St. Paul the Apostle,
 social media content does not boost, it is not proud,
 it is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
 and does not delight in evil,
 but rejoices in the truth (1 Cor. 13:4-6).



Gould offers some guidelines for quality content- 
both created and curated.

Will it enhance your
 audiences' knowledge,
deepen their understanding,
strengthen their faith,
 stimulate conversation, 
and build community?

If you are contemplating entry, or
are in the process of creating
a strategy plan
 in the social media world-
the next post gives some guidelines
 about your presence.






Thursday, August 7, 2014

eformation- The Power of YOUR Story





#6 in the eformation Series

Where have you been?
Talking about this the other day with a friend.
We were talking about-"Our Story." 
She said, "Nothing great in my life to talk about... 
I haven't done anything important."
We talked a bit more
 and I asked her to reframe her life.....

"What if you tell your story
 in light of what Jesus has done for you? 
Do you think that can
 give you a different perspective?"

We all get caught up in the subtle
 and actually maybe blatant 
 affects of our modern culture--
 that our Life is about ME and what I have done....

We get a bit sidetracked
 and think it is the paths WE choose that matters. 

The challenge of committed Disciples- 
Followers of Jesus- 
is that we often forget
 just how basic our story is.... 
 and we forget to use our gifts
 and our whole being in telling the main story:

JESUS LOVES ME.
 HE DIED FOR ME.
AND ROSE AGAIN FOR ME.

That is the story that attracts others to listen -
 to listen with HOPE.
 To begin to see that there is something different about 
Living Life as a Daughter of the King.
Because Jesus has made all the difference.
Because my feeble attempts
 at making meaning of my life have been futile.
And most all -  
we are encouraged to be prepared.
 Take some time to write out your Story.
So that you are always prepared
 to tell anyone who asks---
What is so special about your life?
And then perhaps YOU
 will be ready to be a witness
 here in this space- 
of all that you have seen and heard.


Our encouragement here:
1 Peter 3:14-15

Through thick and thin,
 keep your hearts at attention,
 in adoration before Christ, your Master. 
Be ready to speak up and tell anyone
 who asks why you’re living the way you are,
 and always with the utmost courtesy.



AND BECAUSE EVERYTHING FORMS US-
AND GOD USES EVERYTHING 
HE DOES NOT WASTE ANYTHING.
OUR ECONOMICAL GOD
IS ABLE TO USE-
eformation- electronic media
to both form and shape us and others.
Tell your story-
to Make HIM KNOWN
and
BRING HIM GLORY.



Parts of this post were previously published at-
Women of the SED  

Sunday, August 3, 2014

eformation- The Power of STORY

#5 in the eformation Series
Stories captivate and entertain us. 
Stories also educate and encourage us. 
This past weekend I have attended a conference
 that we hosted in our "District"
 called Tending the Flame. 
More than once we were asked
 to think about our STORY. 
 How can we connect into the STORY-
 God is already writing?
 What is our piece of that? 
An excellent book that helped me
 to better understand
 the impact of electronic faith formation
 and our story,
 is Faith Formation 4.0 by Julie Anne Lytle.
 She begins to unravel this complex
 and messy issue that we are dealing
 with of the established church
 and its integral place in faith formation. 



As followers of Jesus, we live out our lives
 here on earth with the power of the Holy Spirit
 breathed into each of us. 
We walk and move about learning to understand
 the mandate to Go and Tell and Make Disciples. 
 Each and every day is learning
 more about just what this means
 individually and collectively. 
This "working it out"
 begins to unite knowing and being
 to illustrate how the way we live our lives
 can become an invitation to others.
Lytle says,
" This is a story-keeping, story-telling,
and story- making process

whereby community members remember

 and retell their experience

 and understanding of God's presence

 and the response it inspires."


How wonderful when stories told include His people
 in all walks of life and stages of life.

Can you begin to see how the Master StoryTeller-

 wants to use YOUR STORY

 to bring HIS HANDIWORK glory?



Saturday, August 2, 2014

eformation- Kingdom Impact Pinterest


#4 in the eformation Series

Bringing Gospel Light to the World of Social Media.
Telling the story of the journey of Kingdom Impact Pinning.

Kingdom Impact Pinning began in January 2012.
  I invited Peg Green, the wife of another pastor
 on staff at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
 in Springfield, Virginia,
 to come over and listen to a "wild idea"
 that was keeping me up night after night.

I had been listening to the stories of young moms
 who were excited about this new social media tool
 and how it linked them to usable resources
 for their family life.
But, when I checked out the sites,
 they were questionable in doctrine, 
practice, and leadership.
So I began to search for sources designed
 and created by our own church body and leaders.
And could not find anything.
If I did, the images were not in "pinnable format."
I had to use Amazon as a resource,
 rather than our own Publishing House.

What might happen if we began to create
 our own push on the internet?
 As a team, working together, 
to accomplish a purpose greater
 than our single endeavor? 

So, two women began a covenanted group
 who would be thoughtful and faithful in:
Who we followed,
 What we pinned,
 When we made comments, 
Where we led others,
How we used our words.
 We would work to give credit to resources,
 look for other Christian pinners, 
and choose to pin Faith-filled things as a first priority.
 We would arrange Faith boards
 in the top two lines of our Pinterest Boards-
 in the Prime Real Estate.
We want others to follow us
 because we know who we follow- Jesus.
We want to lead people to Him.
We, individually, with our own likes, 
interest, friends, and personalities gather followers.
We love followers because we KNOW 
that in our flow of visual images they will be:
 encouraged,
 see Bible verses,
 know that the Creator of the Universe is Lord,
 see what faith-filled family living looks like, 
and be connected to other disciples of Jesus.

Isn't that what a harried, 
overwhelmed world wants to see?
Isn't there another way to live in this world?
We may be distanced from each other by miles, 
time, and personal commitments.
 But, we can be connected in a way
 that builds community with a purpose- 
for the sake of others.
It is not about how much time
 we spend on Pinterest that matters. 
It is that there is a focus on God's Kingdom,
 something beyond the here and now world, 
and how you choose to live your one life well.
It is about what we can accomplish together,
 with the help of the Holy Spirit,
 that we could not do alone.
With a history of 2 1/2 years we have learned a few things.
We are:
 exploring what it means to be
 deployed staff as missionaries to the world.

learning that global connections are simple and easy.
(Google translator changes the language of a blog post.)

praying that God uses our efforts to further
 His metanarrative plan for the world.

We have:
 served as encouragers to other Christians.

welcomed others with varied gifts,
 talents, and interests.

 discovered resources
 we never would have thought to"Google".
(the move from a search culture to discovery culture)

helped seekers to make Christ connections.

drawn a picture of what it might
 look like to be a follower of Jesus.

seen an upswing in the number of male followers.

connected to businesses, churches and schools
as followers.

The team currently includes 25 pinners
 from across the United States. 
This blog post from March 2013, 
has the links to all of the team member's sites.
Kingdom Impact Pinners

Today as we team together,
 we have over 23,500 followers, 
so that others may have a glimpse
 of Good News in a dark world.
Want to be part of the team?
Follow.
 Let us know. 
Join the HOPE.
 See the Possibilities.