(This post is the second in a series on best practices for using digital media in ministry. Read the first post (on blogging) here.)
Among the most frequent questions I get when wearing my “digital missioner” hat is this doozy: “Our church website is terrible. Where do we begin?”
If there were an easy, straightforward answer to this question, I suspect we would have a lot fewer awful church sites adrift around the Web. Fortunately, a number of professional communicators have heard or been a part of enough stories of success and failure to extrapolate a bit and offer advice to the rest of us. I’ve tried to pull together from the best of their advice.
It is that time of year when students and families are in the midst of transition. The school year is ending, summer is beginning, and everyone is already looking toward to the next school year. As elementary students move into middle school, as middle school students become senior high students, and as the senior high students transition from school to the next steps in their lives, now is the time for us to help them as shift into the next stage. If you remember back on your own transitions in life, you will recall that they are both exciting and stressful. Students and parents wonder what they will encounter in this new space, who will they meet, what teachers will they have, and will they find new connections in this new stage in their lives. As ministers to these age groups, we have a vital and important role in helping make the connections and reaching out to those who are in transition.
There are many articles and blogs addressing the subject of change. The church is one of the last places people seem to be willing to accept and go with the flow of change. I find this to be very interesting due to the fact that everything else in our lives changes almost on a weekly basis. Weather, work, school, clothing sizes (for children and adults), homes, and budgets are a few examples. Change is inevitable.
It’s technology training season in the seminary teaching and learning center where I work. In classes, in individual coaching, and in regional and national workshops and conferences, our attention is fixed on helping congregational practitioners, seminarians, and faculty better utilize digital media in their ministries of faith formation, communication, and beyond.
As a relationship coach, I frequently get questions from people about how to deal with a challenging person. I’m used to that kind of question. Last week, I got a new one that I wasn’t prepared for from a young woman… “So, you’re a relationship coach. I’m single and looking for a husband. Can you help me find one?” Helping people find dates is not really in my coaching wheelhouse and will not be the focus of this blog. I’m more comfortable helping people make their dates better!
We are creative people. Why not make creativity a part of your faith practice?
That’s what spiritual director Maggie Oman Shannon has done. She recently wrote the book Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation. “Our lives themselves are the ultimate act of creativity,” she writes, “and each of our lives is as unique as our fingerprints.”
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