REACH: A UU Digital Ministry Program – Faith in Action
What is UU Digital Ministry?
- Definition: It is a set of collaborative (social) practices that administer pastoral care, radical hospitality, witnessing, worship, religious education, and community. It manifests Unitarian Universalist beliefs and values wherever people gather digitally. It is inherently a blended experience of online and offline cultures, which intentionally influence each other. It uses tools and services that collectively are known either as social media or social networking. Digital ministry is not a top-down, one-way broadcast of religion. Digital ministry turns connections into relationships in which we are intentionally present.
- Mission: The ministry works to reveal and promote the existence of a higher good where life occurs online. It is faith in action.
- Two-Pronged Goal of UU Digital Ministry: To draw people into our physical churches and local activities and to solidify an easily recognizable and understandable identity for Unitarian Universalism.
REACH: A UU Digital Ministry Program
This program is written so that each section can stand alone. I am listing them, however, in the order I believe will best explain a vision for digital ministry. Once all of the sections are posted, I will offer one download of the complete text.
Leave questions in this blog. I will do my best to answer in a timely fashion. I hope, however, that others respond to help each other. The table of contents for REACH is just below the following special note to you, dear readers:
Sept. 28, 2013 – PLEASE NOTE: The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VA began changing the appearance and functionality of what I built and ran for nearly three years. I moved on from that church in early 2012, by which time two beloved ministers and one 17-year veteran church administrator left the church. In short, the religious institution lost a great deal of professional religious contemporary history and dynamic leadership keen on leveraging social media and networking to practice our faith in action. You can see what our online church looked like, as I conceived, design and built it with the involvement of more than 70 individuals from our church, in this downloadable report. A second downloadable report I wrote had numerous examples of the extensive use of the online church. At that time, the church had 940 members and friends and another 300 or so in occasional but repeat participants. In, mid 2013 with a new Interim Minister and a new church administrator, the site began to change. It’s home page does not reflect what I built, and more of the site may have been changed. I do not know. I wrote a report on its first 2.5 years, which is based on Google analytic and other factual information. You can read the 2.5 year downloadable report here. If you prefer to not download the above files you can see them online in slideshare, where the 2.5 year report is the default presentation highlighted, and the other three are available from thumbnails to the right of it.
The files in recommended reading order:
- A Team Effort: Acknowledgements
- The Acronym: What is REACH?
- REACH Glossary of Terms
- The Reality: Digital Ministry Calling
- Part One and Part Two: A Primer for Ministers Your Well Being Online & a Tactical Plan for Your Facebook “Minister” Presence
- Part Three: A Primer for Ministers – Your Voice, Stories, and Compelling Content
- Part Four: A Primer for Ministers – Core REACH Principles: How To Practice Them
- Worksheet #1: How Are You Currently Practicing Digital Ministry?
- Worksheet #2: How to Figure Out Your Digital Ministry Strategy
- Worksheet #3: Assess Your Congregation’s Current Digital Presence
- Worksheet #4: What Is Your Personal Social Media Profile?
- Photo and Video Best Practices: How to Reflect Your Congregation in an Engaging Way
- Think Critically About Facebook: Is Facebook a Gift or a Trojan Horse? AND Why You Should Use Despite Its Negatives
- Twitter: It’s About Reaching Strangers
- Pastoral Care for the Unemployed: Leveraging Church , email, iPhones and LinkedIn.com to Help Unemployed Parishioners
- Intellectual Property Rights and Social Media Content
- Digital Ministry Policy & Protocols – Safety & Privacy
- The Three Types of Church Websites, Their Content, Their Technology
- Does Digital Ministry Guarantee Growth for a Congregation: It’s About Retention
- What Is The Potential of SmartTVs?
- Beginning Thoughts on a Strategy for a Denominational Digital Ministry
- Optional – Facebook Standard Setters And Paradigms for Social Networking This document helps you to understand key social networking behavior such as “friending,” “liking,” and “sharing.”
- Optional – Summation of Facebook Strengths, Weaknesses, And Key Facts
- Optional – Facebook Tools And Features. This document explains many Facebook features mentioned throughout REACH.
- Appendix: Sources of Inspiration and Bibliography for REACH
- Reports I wrote on the performance of the online church of the UU of Arlington, VA are available on slideshare and also as downloadable files in the “Note” that tops this page.
REACH: A UU Digital Ministry Program, ©June Herold 2012
This is a homily I gave in Oct. 2009 to introduce digital ministry to the UU Church of Arlington, VA
A recent book I contributed to is now out as a Kindle Edition and will be in print soon. Virtual Leader: Game-Changing Skills and Strategies of the New Enterprise Manager.