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Tweeting the good news (Tweevangelism)

Tweeting the good news (Tweevangelism)

By Walker Adams

I love Facebook. It is a great way for me to keep track of what is going on with my friends, find out who has a birthday, and see my cousins vacation pictures. As much as I love Facebook, I think I love Twitter more. Twitter brings me a constant source of news and information. It allows me to have conversations with people I may have met only once, or people I have never met at all (which is how this article even came about). What I love most about Twitter though is that following trending topics enables me to see what is going on around the world, and gives me a glimpse into what people around me think is important (or not). In short, it keeps me in touch with society.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was in our diocese (West Missouri) this week to celebrate the centennial celebration feast day of one of our parishes, St. Andrew’s. She preached about St. Andrew, evangelism, and compared various fishing techniques to spreading the gospel, encouraging us to find what bait attracts us and use it to fish for others. While I loved her sermon, and wholeheartedly agree with her, I fear we as Episcopalians spend less time fishing and more time keeping the aquarium.

Let me explain. Over the course of the last few days as I have been reflecting on the words of our Presiding Bishop in comparison to Bishop Kirk Smith’s sermon “Digital Bishop”. As a young Episcopalian I am disheartened, and not surprised, at statements like “80% of people looking for a church to attend for the first time, go to the internet, and yet only 20% of Episcopal churches have an active and up-to-date website.” or that “Of the 110 active bishops in this country, only six are on Twitter.” (Although I think Twitter informed me that a few have joined since this sermon was preached, thanks be to God). Growing up in a digital age with a digital mind frame, I do not understand why the church would attend to current culture from the pulpit and preach the gospel as it relates to war in the Middle East, or the greed and need associated with this time of year, but will not take the step to log into Twitter and hashtag #BlackFriday. I understand sometimes the aquarium needs attention, but eventually it also needs fish, and it seems foolish for us to wait for them to jump into our Episcopal tank.

So, my challenge to the church during advent is this: don’t waste your Advent waiting for Mary to give birth to Jesus. Instead, make your faith incarnate right here, right now. Log into Twitter, find a trending topic, and preach the gospel in an ocean where the fish are. Will you proclaim by word, tweet, and example the Good News in Christ Jesus?

Walker Adams (@walkeradams1) is a senior music education major at The Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He is a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Day School (@StPaulsKCMO) in The Diocese of West Missouri.


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Ann Fontaine

Thanks Gary – this is really helpful — sometimes learning new tech gets overwhelming to me even tho I know it is important.

Gary Allman

Ann, If your church has a Twitter account and assuming you are a manager of the church Facebook page you can link your church’s Facebook page to Twitter so that when someone posts a new status message on your Church’s Facebook page it also appears on Twitter. It doesn’t show as coming from you.

To set it up You’ll need to be logged in to your church’s Twitter account, and Facebook will ask you to switch back to your personal account to establish the link, but the posts will be taken from your churches page and sent to Twitter.

I use this to send Facebook status massages to Twitter from several Facebook pages including my church’s Facebook page.

You can set up the link to Twitter by using this address:

I understand the need to prioritize, but even if none of your existing congregation is on Twitter, certainly the youth, and particularly young women in your area will be. It might be a way to reach out.

As an aside you may also find Google Chrome useful, it supports multiple ‘users’ which allows you to to be simultaneously logged into different accounts on the same website, each in it’s own browser window. Here’s the link to the Google help page for this feature:

@Ed. Oops. Unfortunately Typepad won’t let a WordPress login have a name – so I’ve created a Typepad account to sort it.

Ann Fontaine

Gsallman – I know that FB can automatically send notes to FB – but it would all be under my name and not the church’s. I get that it takes time and is worth it – but prioritizations of life by a priest are essential too. I get more return from people outside the church by using the local listserve that has all sorts signed up and using it for community info and discussion. Choices, choices. I am not arguing against Twitter -I am just thinking about reasons why some don’t use it.

@Ann, yes it does take time – doesn’t any evangelism / outreach? Yes, you need to cater for the needs or your existing congregation, but without reaching out into the world where your potential congregation is living, you may end up without a congregation.

You can make every post on Facebook also appear on Twitter without any extra effort, that’s a start.

Modern communication is like gardening, you have to sow, tend, water and weed your online presence.

Gsallman – please sign your full name when you comment – thanks. ~ed.

Ann Fontaine

I know why I did not log our church onto Twitter – I had St Catherine’s signed up -but it required logging out of my account and into the church’s to follow and tweet. And we had the most bizarre people following with very iffy photos. I did not have enough hours in the day to check on the website, Facebook site and Twitter – so let Twitter go. I know Twitter is a good way to get the church out there and I also know that not one current member of any age is on Twitter. They are just beginning to use FB. The web site does turn up most of our visitors and those seeking a church relationship. And yes I know we need a communications group to take on these things – hard to do when the majority are barely using email and check it maybe once a week. Ah the issues of very small churches.

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