This post is part of the Social Media Sunday series. Read the introductory post here.
Here are two stories that will stick with me from our first Social Media Sunday. David was using his iPad to preach, and there were quite a few comments from youth in the church about how cool it was that David was using an iPad in worship!! I commented on one of their statues on Facebook and said, “You do know that I preach from an iPad whenever I preach…right?” They didn’t. And that alone tells us one thing. On Social Media Sunday…for at least that Sunday, they were really paying attention and watching the service. You can make whatever comments you want about what that says about their investment in worship the other weeks, but the key is that they were engaged and present in a different way.
The second story involves a couple of our youth. After worship when I was talking to a group of students, I asked them what they thought about Social Media Sunday, and their responses ran the gamut. Two guys answered my first question; the first (a 9th grader) said, “Yah – it was pretty cool. I liked it. And I got the highest score on Flappy Bird that I’ve ever had!” (Oh Flappy Bird, how I loathe thee – I can’t even get 1 point in that stupid iPhone game)
And the second (a 7th grader) responded saying, “I really liked it – it was cool that I could follow along…I felt like I am slowly starting to get what goes on…and I didn’t play Flappy Bird at all in the service!” I think that if we can get a 7th grader to be totally focused and invested in worship, rather than playing iPhone games, I think we did a good thing.
Both David and I had experiences of people coming up to us and saying, “Well, I was skeptical coming in – but that was really great” or “I didn’t want to come this morning, and while I still don’t really get social media, I still felt like I worshipped.”
But I don’t mean to convey that everyone loved the experience. There were a few that just don’t see social media having any part of a worship service: they say it’s distracting, takes away our focus from God and places it on ourselves. So, we need to figure out how to live somewhere in the middle for our community. We’ve put together a survey for our community, and so far have had about seven responses from folks with some helpful feedback.
Clearly there are people who are very engaged with social media, and so an opportunity like this is appealing to help give them another way to engage the church online. But others aren’t, and we need to find a way to still make worship meaningful and inclusive of them.
While we continue to process our Social Media Sunday experience, I am thinking that something like this is helpful to do once a year or so. In addition to the experience, we got a lot of folks sharing worship with their social networks, we got some new folks to sign up for Facebook and click Like on our Facebook page, I got connected via Facebook and Twitter with new folks (which I think is helpful and a significant part of my ministry) and all of those online connections serve to make our face-to-face connections even more meaningful.
I hope you’ll consider doing a Social Media Sunday with your community. Here are a list of resources that should be helpful if you decide to do so: