That doesn’t mean that I think you have to twitter in order to be an effective conference. Twitter does not make disciples, nor do good web pages, or great UM reporter inserts. However, it does show that you’re thinking about such things. It shows you are looking for ways to communicate.
Look at the web pages for those three UM conference: South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia. They all have current events, relevant links and great information. They present the conference the denomination and the church well. Now, go look at some other United Methodist conferences. Pick three. There are some really bad ones out there. I met one of the people I follow on twitter because he was noticing how bad some of them are.
I know our conference budgets are limited. Budgets are being scrutinized everywhere. Many conferences are probably using volunteer help and hosting for their pages. Fine, have a simple web page with phone numbers, links and a calendar. But do whatever you’re doing well.
If I go to your web page and get “upcoming advent celebrations!” what should I think? If you link me to another web page that doesn’t have anything to do with the link I just clicked, how long do you think I’ll stay on your site? If I email your pastors with a question or concern, how long will it take to hear back from them? I recently emailed a pastor with a comment: no response for six days and counting.
So what? I should do something. I’m complaining, but I can help. You can too. You’re reading a blog, so you’ve got more experience than others in the church. Maybe you can help proofread the website for you church. Maybe you can just make sure to check the conference website once a week and encourage the guy who works on it. We have good news to share, peace to proclaim. Christ is Lord! Let us share the news in a way that is worthy of the King of Kings.
It now seems trite for a Christian to say “I don’t like contemporary Christian music”, but somebody’s still buying all those cds and concert tickets or there would be no market. And actually, there’s such a broad range of Christian music now that you can’t lump it all together. Several people I know recommended Derek Webb, and that has kept me looking for good Christian music and finding lots of songs and streams that I hadn’t seen before because of the tangled thickets of theologically and musically worthless songs that hid them.
However, I also like songs that have themes that are Christian even though they’re not made for a specifically Christian audience. Musically these songs are often superior to Christian songs because they’re not necessarily starting out with the message in mind. As a good Wesleyan, I see prevenient grace in these songs. God calls even when people may not realize the call is there.
This video is not a complex example of this idea. It’s obviously a humanist perspective. You don’t have to be Christian to appreciate it. It’s also not a new song, just an old one that I came at through a twitter search. The producer’s name is Christian Falk. It’s not a type of music that I am drawn to, but it’s worth hearing.
I’ll admit I’m a newcomer to twitter, but I’ve been on the internet since it was in black and white, so I’m fairly comfortable with technology, and I think that twitter has some interesting possibilities for churches. Soon, I’ll read a copy of Twitter for Churches but first I want to share a brief story that makes me wonder about many ways that this tool, and probably others like it, can be used.
I’m just getting into exploration of twitter, so I like to search for things. I found a local friend who tweets or twitters or whatever the proper verb is by using nearbytweets. Great. I searched for anything mentioning methodist using tweetdeck, though you can also just use twitter search.
When I was doing some searches, I found someone who was not happy with the church near his home. He was unhappy enough that he tweeted about it. This is feedback that the church could never get just by walking around the neighborhood, and it was good info. to have. What other ways might this help us to be better neighbors to the world?
I love facebook, the many apps available from Google and now twitter. Despite the fact that none of them were invented with the church in mind, I hope that churches can figure out the many ways that these tools can be used to strengthen the church, Lord willing.