Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from Mission Summit Conversations (June 2013)

  • Insights
    • There is not one form of social media that works best for everyone.
    • A well maintained and up to date church website is important because it may be the first contact for someone and an ongoing consistent contact for others.
    • Churches are also urged to take advantage of free media tools, such as Pay pal, HTML etc. One of the most important issues regarding social media is to find someone who is passionate and willing to serve.
    • This is the embodiment of the “church without walls.”
    • Social media is more than a one-way communication to tell people about us. It can be an invitation to conversation and connection, a two-way experience.
    • A great comment from our group about the power of social media, as he reflected on meeting new people at our table: “Once you met her, you never let her go. WIth social media, we can be connected forever.”
    • The virtual world is a missionary field like any other.
  • Challenges
    • Are we ready for how people will respond through social media? The challenge can become how to minister to that “second” congregation. Social media does not guarantee people will join our churches, but is still a way to plant seeds and make connections in faith and spirit.
    • Social media will require us then to think differently about our churches and our outreach. How do you offer pastoral care? What invitations to community can we extend and maintain? Who is the “Executive Minister” of cyberspace?
  • Experiments
    • A support group has been started by one individual to help her cope with an illness.
    • Another example included the use of “Social Media” to provide training and education via recorded workshops.
    • Virtual churches serve an important mission to link those who are sick and shut-in her and see the word of God.
    • Ask, “Why do we want to engage in social media?” and “What do we expect from it?”
    • Explore the time demands of social media on leaders and clergy and talk about boundaries.
    • Suggest to ABCUSA that we at the denominational level engage social media more effectively–using the cloud is a first step, but there is so much more! Can we have an ABCUSA message board attached to our website or FaceBook where we can remain connected and share our ideas outside of something like the Mission Summit?
    • Youth can provide emotional support for older generations as they enter the realm of social media.

Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from the Mission Table (November 2013)

  • Insights
    • We need to use social media in order to connect with our world.
    • We must realize that there is no privacy and should be no expectation of privacy when using social media.
    • Common sense and having feedback and accountability are necessary to use it in a positive way.
  • Challenges
    • Social media is both a great gift and a dangerous one.
  • Experiments/Projects
    • The tools have made it easier than ever to use social media, but we still must use it strategically and in line with our overall mission objectives.

Read the full notes:

Mission Summit Conversations:

Mission Table:

Views expressed are the sole opinion of conversation participants. They do not express the views of American Baptist Churches USA, or individual American Baptist churches. Conversation notes and summaries are shared to allow American Baptists and friends to easily review and use these Mission Summit Conversations and the Mission Table learnings as they wish.