Browsing Category

social media

social media

Twitter reveals top 100 Lenten sacrifices

March 7, 2014

In case you were still working on what you are giving up or for Lent, Christianity Today reports top 100 choices according to Twitter:

With about 5,000 tweets analyzed, the new hot topics so far this year are: “Netflix,” “Flappy Bird,” and “Getting an Oscar.” “Social Networking” is currently way out in front, with twice as many tweets as perennial favorites “Swearing” and “Alcohol.” (Last year, Social Networking came in at #4.)

Here is Stephen Smith of’s running list of the top 100 most-mentioned Lenten sacrifices (both serious and cynical) in 2014, followed by top categories:

Continue Reading…

social media

Using social media during crisis

October 23, 2013

Churches and organizations will face an opportunity where social media can greatly impact how you respond to a crisis. Whether the crisis is a natural disaster, community problem, or an internal church conflict, how a message is crafted can produce positive results if done correctly.

During the recent #chsocm chat that I moderated, our church social media group discussed the best practices for using social media during a crisis. Here are my 4 topic/questions that we discussed:

  • T1: Name a crisis that emerged in a ministry community and how could it have been improved by social media? Could be your church or another.
  • T2: What tools or strategies can churches use during a crisis to improve communication & trust?
  • T3: How should an external community crisis be handled differently than an internal church crisis via social media?
  • T4: What can be shared via social media from a crisis that reveals a greater truth about God?

Here were some good ideas and responses to the topic of using social media during crisis:

Continue Reading…

blog, social media

I’m moderating #chsocm tonight

October 22, 2013

I’m moderating #chsocm on Twitter tonight @ 9:00 p.m. If you are a church-ie social media type, just join in on Twitter with the search and hashtag #chsocm. It’s pretty easy to join in. Just keep #chsocm in your search on Twitter and follow the conversation.

My topic tonight will be centered around handling crisis within the church using social media. 

A lot of you are wondering, “What the heck is #chsom?” It’s Church socialmedia. #ChSocM (ch-sock-em) is a weekly Twitter-based chat about using social media to build church and faith. Welcoming, informative, ecumenical. Tuesdays, 9PM, ET. Commentary, interviews, transcripts, and fun stuff on the blog.

My good Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest friend Meredith Gould started the Twitter chat topic/community about 2 years ago. Since then, it has grown into a weekly meet up for lay people, pastors, seminarians, and social media church geeks (that includes me).

Don’t be a non-participate observer! Join in! (I loath the word “Lurker” or “lurking” for social media listening. It’s too creep-stalker-ish. See you tonight on #chsocm!

blog, social media

FREE netcast for small churches

October 21, 2013

Tomorrow, will host a free netcast on their website focusing on small-church expectations of pastors, avoiding burnout in the small-church pastorate, and advice for those ministers working in a small-church environment. The streaming netcast  Oct. 22 begins at 11 a.m. ET.

Zach Dawes, former small-church pastor and now managing editor of, and Chuck Warnock, pastor of Chatham Baptist Church in Chatham, Va., will join’s media producer, Cliff Vaughn, online for the conversation. Using  Google Hangouts, will broadcast live on their site.

Anyone can watch the netcast on the main page of, in the video hub (near the bottom-right of the page). After the netcast, the content will be available as a recorded video.

Ethics Daily now features 60 Skype interviews on their Vimeo channel. The expert discussions feature topics like prison ministry, beauty pageants, the Korean church, Thomas Jefferson, the church and technology, and much more.


social media

Social media atonement and confession?

September 16, 2013

Would you ever tweet, blog, or Facebook your sins? Is social media the place for confession and atonement?

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement for Jews, occurred last week. Yom Kippur is the day of repentance for past sins, to seek forgiveness, and to make amends. NPR featured a fascinating twist on this holy day. A synagogue in Miramar, Florida invited congregants to use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to share their wrongs. Cantor Debbi Ballard explains how social media can connect her congregation to confession and restoration:

…let’s use the technology and have it enhance our atonement today by tweeting or texting our sins away, and looking at those sins on a big movie screen. And then letting them roll past us so that we can let them go, so that we can live a more powerful life this year. I think that’s what Yom Kippur and atonement is about.

It may seem odd for some to share their “sins” on social media. Who wants to leave their confession in a world that caches and stores your information for the world to see? Ballard explains the value of interactive and communal confession: Continue Reading…

blog, social media

I’m moderating #chsocm tonight

May 28, 2013

I’m moderating #chsocm on Twitter tonight @ 9:00 p.m. If you are a church-ie social media type, just join in on Twitter with the search and hashtag #chsocm.

A lot of you are wondering, “What the heck is #chsom?” It’s Church social media. #ChSocM (ch-sock-em) is a weekly Twitter-based chat about using social media to build church and faith. Welcoming, informative, ecumenical. Tuesdays, 9PM, ET. Commentary, interviews, transcripts, and fun stuff on the blog.

My good Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest friend Meredith Gould started the Twitter chat topic/community about 2 years ago. Since then, it has grown into a weekly meet up for lay people, pastors, seminarians, and social media church geeks (that includes me).

Don’t be a non-participate observer! Join in! (I loath the word “Lurker” or “lurking” for social media listening. It’s too creep-stalker-ish. See you tonight on #chsocm!

social media

Church uses vandalism for social media message

May 24, 2013

What do church leaders usually do when someone vandalizes the side of a church with graffiti? Cover it up, repaint, or remove the vandalism. A church in Randolph, New York was recently vandalized with the words, “Can I still get into heaven if I kill myself?” The church responded in a remarkable and unconventional way.

Grace Episcopal Church allowed the vandalism to stay, but the church added their own reply:


The above picture circulated around Facebook and Twitter with folks generating a conversation about spirituality and community.

Elizabeth Drescher at Religion Dispatches covered the story and found out why the church responded in this way and how it relates to modern religious expression:

Rather than approaching the tagging as a criminal act, however, church leaders decided to take the graffiti seriously as an expression of something spiritually meaningful—a cry for help.. They approached it relationally, using the church building itself as a social media platform, and responding with their own message of hope.

It’s the story of a fairly traditional church actively recognizing that religious doubt, religious critique, and all manner of theological questioning that once would have been seen as belonging squarely within the clapboard walls of a village church unfold in a much wider, much more broadly networked universe.

What started as a process to respond to church vandalism turned into a broader conversation on social media. With hundreds of shares, likes, and comments on Facebook and Twitter, this church’s vandalism response sparked mostly positive reaction. Some of the replies on the church’s Facebook post tell of the conversation around suicide, religion, and young people:

“As a pastor who has lost a young adult son to suicide, let me add that the forum is 100% appropriate and the response is as well. Song lyrics or no, any indication that an individual might be contemplating suicide needs to be taken with the utmost seriousness.”

“I’m not of this faith, but I really respect and admire this response. It goes beyond religion for me. It comes down to basic, good old-fashioned human kindness, which, sometimes, is the one thing a desperate person needs.”

“This is what I got from this message (go ahead and kill yourself God loves you) should have been worded differently indeed! And so as long as I ask for forgives before I kill myself its all good right.”

“I think the response was great — people in that much pain need to know that not only does the Church love them, but that God loves them. Who knows, this might be just the turning point that this person needs to know that people and God cares”

“my experience working with suicidal people is that the thing that might encourage someone to get help is the sense that someone has heard them. We also don’t know if the person who painted the original message is suicidal or whether the are in profound grief after someone else’s suicide… or if something completely different is going on. You can’t really counsel an anonymous message written on a wall – sounds like the parish is doing the best they could have done under the circumstances”

This story is a lesson in leadership. Rather than react with, “Who would dare do this!?!” The church was proactive and asked, “Why is this person hurting so much to do this? What can we do to reach out in an equal response?” Many Christians and churches are quick to judge, but we must find creative responses to brokenness — as Jesus did.

afeature, social media

The social media blackout

May 6, 2013

Social media can take a toll on your life. Keeping up with Facebook, Twitter, and other networking sites is exhausting.

On average Americans spend just as much time on the Internet (13 hours a week) as they do watching television. That adds up to 26 hours — a little more than a day of our week — spent in front of a screen.

We can suffer from social media. Managing several social media accounts while holding down a job and life can be taxing. Social media is a world of instant communication and demand. We can’t possibly keep up with the check-ins, pictures, internet memes, Words with Friends, internet news, and Twitter trends.

Sometimes, we need a social media blackout. Usually, a social media blackout happens when a company or celebrity has an embarrassing moment and they go silent on Facebook and/or Twitter. Example: Anthony Weiner, and his… ahem, Twitter problem. After everything went down, Weiner went silent on his active Twitter account.

The social media blackout I’m thinking about isn’t because we have done something wrong but because we need a break.

Taking breaks or sabbath is a requirement in life. Just as our bodies need rest, our minds do too. From time to time we need a mental health day. A day where we disconnect from the craze of the world and focus on things that we love. Walking, reading, spending time with family, or going to a movie are all things that help us refocus.

Taking a social media blackout from the dependence on technology harks back to the day when humans relied on their own skills and gifts. A social media blackout helps us to realize that meaningful connections are made through relationships, not digital networking. True love and friendship are found with time spent together, and not through a computer.

For the next two days I’m doing a social media blackout. No Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, or Foursquare check-ins. I’m going to a monastery to do some reading and writing. To recharge.

Do you need a social media blackout? How have you taken a social media break? What practices do you find meaningful during a social media blackout?

afeature, social media

In the wake of Boston, social media heals

April 23, 2013

It was last week American experienced its first terrorist act through the lens of social media. Millions turned to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networking sites to gain information on the bombings in Boston. During 9/11, many turned to TV and radio to seek information but in 2013, social media led the way in information and healing. This is a different internet age.

When the bombs when off in Boston, I was driving my friend Gary Long to the airport. Gary checked his iPhone and said, “A bomb went off at the Boston Marathon.” Immediately, my Twitter and Facebook media feeds contained with first hand accounts, information, and pictures. At times media reports were riddled with errors and misinformation. Our culture’s need to immediately digest information fed inaccuracies.

Quickly after the bombing, social media was ablaze with pictures and stories of regular people rushing to the scene of the explosions. There was something different about this act of terrorism. The shock was lessened by bystanders heroic action rather than fearful reaction to the explosions. The emerging story on Facebook and Twitter was not about details of death, grief, and loss but stories of healing, hospitality, and love. Google quickly set up a missing persons exchange to find loved ones in Boston.

Facebook messages of prayer and sentiments of grief for Boston filled my feed:


After the wake of the Boston bombings, social media became a tool for American to heal. A tool used to gather together as a digital community. Social media became the mechanism by which people shared a common grief and a common resolve to heal. The pictures and stories of average people doing powerful things to save lives gave us hope. Social media brought us together. We all saw the pictures, witnessed the tragedy, and experience grief through social media.

In the end, the power of social media brought us together to pray, cry, and mourn. But, we didn’t stay mournful long because our collective social media conscience encourage us to respond with healing and prayer – not anger or fear. As we move forward as a country, social media will increase our sense of national community and will play a greater role in healing.

social media

The Bible: Satan, Obama, and Social Media

March 18, 2013

Viewers who watched “The Bible” mini series took to social media to quickly point out a disturbing observation. The character, Satan has a striking resemblance to Barack Obama. The actor, Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni, obviously wore makeup.

Twitter was abuzz:

What do you think? Accident or intentional?


The producers have responded to the accusations:

“This is utter nonsense,” executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey said in a statement. “The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouzaani, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics — including Satanic characters — long before Barack Obama was elected as our President.”