This post is part of the Social Media Sunday series. Read the introductory post here.
We began the service with a short conversation about why we were doing Social Media Sunday, and then David held up his iPad and checked everyone in with a video message on the church’s Facebook page.
From my perspective, the service felt like most other worship services. Like I said, we stuck, for the most part, to our normal order of service, so you could be there in worship, not take out your smartphone, and still feel like you were there in a church for worship.
It’s just that the Associate Pastor was sitting up front on his MacBook Pro during worship.
It seemed that many people were really getting into it, posting updates and using the #wpcworship hashtag.
During my Moment for the Young, I showed the kids various pictures of technology, from stone tablets, to papyrus scrolls, to the first Motorola cell phone, and finally to the iPhone. I shared how these pieces of technology showed that Christians throughout the centuries have used whatever tools of communication that they had available to share God’s love with the world.
One thing that at first I found amusing, and then I realized was pretty cool, was the selfies happening in the sanctuary. Now, keep in mind, I’m no stranger to selfies, but I did wonder what others around may have thought about people taking them during worship.
The first couple snapped a shot during a song, and I love it because you can see the couple, and then some of our older folks in the congregation, and the caption reads: “Doing church 21st century style!!”
The second couple also gave Winnetka Presbyterian Church some pure gold in terms of PR and marketing. They obviously look happy, you can see other folks in the background, and the caption is perfect: “The best part of my week with family and friends at Winnetka Presbyterian Church. #wpcworship”
Now, do I think people will be taking selfies during worship every Sunday? No, but the freedom they had to do it on this specific day, and then to share that joy of their Sunday morning worship experience, with all of their friends and followers online…that’s good stuff there.
I was pleased with the comments, photos and other interactions that happened during worship.
Like I mentioned in a previous post, one of my personal goals with Social Media Sunday was to help remove the stigma of seeing someone pull out their phone in worship. It always irks me when people have problems with that. We live in a digital age; our digital natives do everything on their phones, and then they come to church, and the church seems irrelevant in that space in their lives.
I keep everything on my phone, and if I think of something randomly at church, I would like to be able to take out my phone and make a note of it. If I want to look up a passage of scripture in a different version, I would like to be able to take out my phone and open up my YouVersion app. If I hear something cool from a sermon that I’d like to share with folks, I’d like the freedom to be able to do that without being judged by folks in the church, and I’m guessing there are others who would agree.
I think of people who doodle on their bulletins, make notes for themselves (or their spouse sitting next to them) and I don’t see how that is much different than pulling a phone out to do the same types of things.
I’m sure you can’t remove the stigma of doing that in one Social Media Sunday, but I hope that people will feel more comfortable with using their phones, and seeing people use their phones, during worship.
Tomorrow, I’ll share some final wrap-up thoughts about our experience, and whether we’ll do it again.