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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Beyond technology

Mission-inspired strategies make social media manageable

"Technology," according to the quote attributed to artist and scientist Bran Ferren, is "stuff that doesn't work yet."

Chances are, you fall into one of two categories of people: those who love to tinker with "stuff that doesn't work yet" or those who find it frustrating. When someone in your congregation mentions the church website or the latest social media platform, you get excited — or you tune out. Or perhaps you're somewhere in the middle — interested in emerging technologies but wary of the time and energy each new way of connecting demands.

David L. Hansen, pastor of St. John
David L. Hansen, pastor of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church Prairie Hill in Brenham, Texas, describes himself as a kinesthetic learner for whom staying connected is second nature.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest have become the equivalent of the town square.

"That's where the public conversation is happening now," said David L. Hansen, pastor of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church Prairie Hill in Brenham, Texas. "The place where people are making sense of the events of the world is on Twitter and Facebook."

Meredith Gould, author of The Word Made Fresh: Communicating Church and Faith Today (Morehouse, 2008), started a weekly ecumenical Twitter chat about church social media, including congregation websites. Participants stamp their tweets with the hashtag #chsocm (pronounced "ch-sock-em").

Gould also led social media workshops at the Southwestern Washington Synod Assembly earlier this year.


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