How do we use Twitter to advance God's kingdom?

Twitter is apparently a powerful platform for preachers. The New York Times reported this weeked that the inspirational tweets of evangelical Christian leaders such as Joyce Meyer, Max Lucado and Andy Stanley "perform about 30 times as well as Twitter messages from pop culture powerhouses like Lady Gaga." Twitter senior executive Claire Díaz-Ortiz says "Twitter is just made for the Bible." The Times points out:

On average, verses in the King James Version are about 100 characters long, leaving room to slip in a #bible hashtag and still come in under the 140-character limit.

And proverbs are powerful draws on Twitter.

Consider this post in April from Bishop T. D. Jakes: “Your words will tell others what you think. Your actions will tell them what you believe.”

His message was forwarded 2,490 times — just shy of the 2,491 retweets that the pop singer Katy Perry generated the same month with this message to her fans: “Sometimes jet lag makes me feel like a cross eyed crack head #muststayawake.”

See full story here. And then share your thoughts-- how do we in the Episcopal church use Twitter to share our view of God's love with the Twitterverse?

Comments (5)

Gosh, no comments. I had hoped to have someone slip in something about what a #bible hashtag is and how to slip it in and why, without having to reveal my ignorance about same. And without me having to read the full story. Boy, I feel old right now.

Have 2 embrace the power of short msgs, & speak spiritually 2 our ppl & spk out w/good thought nuggets 2 unchurched. #godisgood

Good resource for learning social media: http://www.gcflearnfree.org/socialmedia

True to form, I don't think you could say that we in the Episcopal Church use Twitter in any uniform way that can be summed up in a short comment. And that's a good thing. There are a number of different ways to use Twitter, and they are appropriate in different contexts.

I have to say that in a church that views Scripture as something that must be understood as a whole, instead of taking individual verses and interpreting them on their own, the tweeting of Bible verses doesn't seem particularly helpful. Many in parish ministry do tweet short prayers and inspirational comments, though. Others use it to promote parish events, or to keep up with what's happening in the broader church, or to communicate with peers.

You can take a look at the Twitter hashtag #episcopal to see some of this. Or follow the Digital Formation
formation guys at @DigiFormation.

I would also say that examples of the effective use of Twitter are going to look different in parishes than in dioceses and larger church organizations.

For those looking for practical advice, I highly recommend the new book Click 2 Save, written by an Episcopalian (Elizabeth Drescher) and a Lutheran (Keith Anderson).

(I myself just wrote an MDiv thesis on the use of social media to build parish community, and it's online at catherinedkerr.com, but it's probably fair to describe it as more of a why-to than a how-to.)

Catherine Kerr (added by ~ed.)

And I should have mentioned that there's an ongoing Twitter discussion of church and social media including a weekly tweetchat using the hashtag #chsocm.

Catherine Kerr

Wow! Thanks, both to Susan and Catherine. Your comments have made this post more useful to me. Again, thanks.

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