When Pope Benedict XVI sent his tweet before Christmas, he was joining a long line of churches and clerics who already explore ministry through social media.
loud.com says that a 2012 survey of 250 U.S. churches by the marketing firm BuzzPlant found that half were participating in social media.
What’s more, 46.1 percent said social media was the most effective way to communicate their message, followed by knocking on doors (24.7 percent), newspapers (14.3 percent), radio (9.1 percent) and television (5.8 percent).
When Superstorm Sandy hit, the Rev. Sanford A. Key posted on Facebook that St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Somers had hot meals and electricity.
Soon after, a couple from nearby Heritage Hills came looking for food.
“The woman’s daughter was in South Carolina, saw the post and called to tell them,” said Key, who created the church’s Facebook page to make exactly that type of connection with his community.
“We moved from static, which was the website, to something that’s active. I can update it immediately,” he said.
Key is part of a new wave of religious leaders flocking to Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites because that’s where their congregations are in the 167 hours a week they aren’t attending services.
“Any congregation that is not investing in this conversation right now is missing a huge opportunity,” said Rabbi Jonathan Blake of the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale. “I like to refer to myself as a 21st-century rabbi. I was ordained in the year 2000, and my rabbinate has coincided with the explosion of Web 2.0 connectivity. It’s a very effective tool for ministry.”
H/T Jan Nunley on FB