What SEPA Synod Can Learn from Redeemer
Today, SEPA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) Communications Director Bob Fisher sent a plea to SEPA congregations for interaction on a web site the synod created for congregations to share ministry ideas. The site was launched in November and had an initial outpouring of about 100 submissions. Then it fizzled. Involvment on the web site has been flat ever since.
There is little reason to post a time deadline on a web site like this. But Fisher’s request for submissions asks for responses by April 26 — one week before Synod Assembly. You want good statistics for Synod Assembly!
Meanwhile, during the same period, 2x2virtualchurch.com, sponsored by the SEPA-excommunicated members of Redeemer, has grown to more than 200 visits per week, with more than 80 followers and 30 new visitors daily. We’ve pioneered social media in church work and have been gaining respect around the world for our work — interdenominationally and among churches of every size. Look at 2×2’s statistics for roughly the same period (screen shot taken in midday/midweek for last bar):
The concept of SEPA’s web site is flawed. No one needs to submit ideas for review and verification by a central office any longer. There is nothing stopping any church from posting their successes and ideas on their own website. Synod should be encouraging community between congregations without a middle man. Don’t worry . . there’s plenty of work for communications middle managers.
This site is not likely to create dialog. It is rigid in a medium that operates best with freedom. It allows three categories of questions. It limits responses to 50 words. (Most of the questions had close to 50 words.) The message conveyed to a visitor to this site is that their ideas will be monitored, judged and verified — controlled. This thinking is foreign to internet users who are accustomed to the free flow of ideas on Facebook, Twitter and blogging platforms—all of which are community-building platforms.
Why invest time posting to a site that might reject you?
There are other ways to achieve sharing. Start developing content that is helpful to congregations so there is a reason to come to the site in the first place. Begin linking and commenting and taking part in the dialog. Recognize that there are no boundaries to good ideas. Why limit the submission of ideas to just 160 congregations when there is a world of mission out there? It’s the social media way. And it works.
Redeemer would submit its ministry ideas to www.godisdoingsomethingnew.com, but we doubt our ministry would be recognized. It hasn’t been for a long time!
No problem. We post our ideas daily on 2×2. Welcome!
(2×2 be glad to help any church get started in social media. Just contact us! We can have a web site up and running for you in a week, train members to use it and even help you develop content.)