echurch Cultivating Virtual Communities of Faith

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Cultivating Virtual Communities

of Faith


 What is a virtual community?

 Why do pastors and the church need to cultivate virtual communities?

 Best Practices

 Tools!


The Future is Here: Now What?

Then  Institutional  In person  Communal  Obligation  Assumed value

 Consume & Observe

Now  Non-Institutional  Accessible  Customizable  Service  Proven value


 Social networking sites are increasingly used to keep up with close social ties

The average user of a social networking site has more

close ties and is half as likely to be socially isolated as the average American

Facebook users are more trusting than others  Facebook users have more close relationships

 Internet users get more support from their social ties and Facebook users get the most support

 Facebook users are much more politically engaged than most people

 Facebook revives “dormant” relationships


 Not only about who is in the church but who is NOT in the church

 Jesus did not only focus on those who came to him, but went out

 Relevant

 About tools and media to communicate a message:



 The story is the same- just a different medium

 Every Generation connects through story telling

From camp-fires to stain glass windows to theater to

books to Instagram and Snapchat

 How do we tell a story in a virtual world?

 Like this!


Have a goal- why am I posting this?

Curation and Creation – you don’t have

to make it all

If it is controversial- own it and welcome

the response and dialogue


Facebook – at least weekly – no more than daily

Twitter – at least daily

YouTube – once a month (can be more regular)

Cross Post – Do it on one- mention on all

Regular anticipatory posting is key- if you post

regularly people will respond

Not posting = nothing is happening


 If someone responds to your post/tweet/picture/ etc. respond within 24 hours.

 The sooner the respond the better – online dialogues can be great

 HOWEVER – respond faithfully, not in anger


Trolls – people commenting to stir

the pot and draw you into an argument



 Hootsuite – manage posts, responses and analytics across SM platforms:

 Buffer – Hootsuite alternative:

 Tweetdeck – manage multiple Twitter accounts, schedule tweets, facilitated Tweetchats:

 Mailchimp – free online Newsletter w/ auto posting to Twitter and Facebook –


DON’T STEAL – credit, creative commons, ask!

 Videos!

 G-dcast – excellent videos on Hebrew Bible (

 SALT project- great videos and Christian themes


 Pictures!

Flickr (search for creative commons):  MorgueFile:

Canva – meme creation:  Picmonkey - photo edit w SM Templates:


Credit when possible…

not typically covered under copyright


 Facebook: This Sunday- Twin Brothers -

 Pinterest – Red Lentil Soup Recipe -

 YouTube: G-dcast (2 Cartoon videos)

 Toldot: Jacob Esau and Tough Talk about Cheating

 Toldot: Trust in God

 AFTER: video of acting out or telling story

 Mailchimp – sent some articles about Esau and Jacob to folks interested in Bible Study and the parent’s

page from Grow, Proclaim, Serve


 Twitter:

Sibling Rivalry with Jacob and Esau #growproclaimserve

#yourchurch #yourchurchsundayschool

 Would you sell God’s blessing for a bowl of soup? #siblingrivalry #growproclaimserve #yourchurch #yourchurchsundayschool

 Instagram

 pics of twins, the soup, siblings

 Spotify:

 Hungry like the Wolf – Duran Duran

 My Brother Esau – The Grateful Dead


 Cultivating is about growing!

 Start smaller and more reasonable- allow yourself to grow

Better than being ambitious and

not following through

 Not either/or but BOTH/AND




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