Earlier this month, Virginia Theological Seminary hosted a fantastic conference. eFormation: Faith for a connected, digital world brought together clergy, Christian education professionals and communicators for a weekend of workshops and networking opportunities. Presenters focused on ways to integrate social media, online tools and electronic resources into church ministry. Participants learned about creating effective videos, web conferencing, tips for blogging and much more.
Here are just a few tips, tricks and recommended resources that I picked up.
From Anna Rendell’s Workshop on Expanding Social Media in Your Congregation:
- Ask yourself the following questions to determine your social media strategy: Why do we use social media? What is our voice? Who should be involved? Who is our audience?
- Consider using a picture-based tool like Instagram or Pinterest to allow smaller groups within your church community to share and connect.
- Don’t forget about Google+, a tool which includes Google Hangouts. With Google Hangouts, you can have video chats with nine other people, and record them for posting to YouTube.
From Sharon Ely Pearson’s Workshop on Sharing Your Story with the World through Blogs
- Keep your blog posts short – 500 words or less.
- Focus on finding your niche and personalizing your voice.
- Interact with other bloggers to increase traffic to your own blog.
From John Roberto’s Workshop on Designing an Online Faith Formation Center
- Find a way to provide your congregation with Christian formation opportunities on their own time, whether that’s through small groups, formal workshops or online resources.
- Consider using a utility like Weebly to create an online hub for formation content. Weebly is a free, easy-to-use content management system.
- Check out a free resource called Edmodo, a tool that connects teachers and students for learning opportunities, and can be adapted for church use.
You can find a full set of handouts and presentation materials from the conference on the eFormation Materials Website.
Did you attend the eFormation Conference? Care to share what you learned in the comments section?
–Emily Cherry, Communications Director