Jeff’s Jottings on Social Media & Sabbatical Report

Happy New Year!

As we enter the new year, many of us make resolutions. I’ll be exploring some powerful resolutions we all might want to take on in my sermon on January 1. In the meantime, let me invite you to consider adopting a resolution that is less life-changing, but can still help our church.

One of the things I did on my sabbatical was attend Pneuma (the Western Christian Educators Conference) at Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg. This annual gathering includes keynotes and workshops. This year’s (well, I guess technically it was last year’s) keynoter was Bruce Reyes-Chow. Bruce is a Presbyterian pastor who started a church in San Francisco and an author. His keynotes were on social media and how to leverage them for church growth and faith formation.

I’m pleased to say that we are doing some good things already with Social Media. I hope we can expand that. And now that I know some tools to make it simpler for multiple people to be engaged (thank you, Bruce), I’m hoping that some of you will want to explore the possibilities.

So here’s the ask:  If you would like to explore how you might be able to be engaged in the church’s social media ministry, please let me know – by January 10. Once I have a list of people who are interested in exploring, we’ll find a meeting time (using one of those tools Bruce talked about) and I’ll do some teaching. No commitments until after the meeting, but once the meeting is done, you may resolve to participate in some aspect of the church’s social media ministry in 2017.

Here’s another ask:  We need more church photographers. If you like taking pictures, would you do so at church? And then share the pictures with me?

The easiest way for you to share the pictures you take is probably to email them to me. However, if you’re a little tech-savvy, I will share a google drive folder with you where you can upload your photos. If you don’t feel very tech-savvy, don’t let that last sentence scare you off! Just email your pictures to me.

Another thing we discussed at the Conference was appropriate pastoral boundaries in social media. Because I was early to the Facebook game, those best practices hadn’t been set yet. Now, they are coming together. Here are the guidelines that Pastor Brenda and I will be following for Facebook. Because your Facebook page is essentially your cyber living room, you need to invite us in. That means you need to initiate a friend request. If you are already one of our Facebook friends and you’d really rather not have us in your cyber living room, just quietly “unfriend” us. No offense will be taken. I promise. While we like having this additional way to keeping up on what’s important in your life, we’re okay with you setting whatever boundary works best for you. By the way, I can be found at www.facebook.com/RevJSS and Pastor Brenda can be found at www.facebook.com/brenda.loreman.

Pastor Brenda isn’t doing Twitter or Instagram, but I am. Like with Facebook, if you want me to follow you on Instagram, please let me know. If I am following you already and you’d rather I didn’t (again, these best practices weren’t developed when I started using social media), feel free to block me; I will not be offended. I’m at www.instagram.com/revjss if you want to follow me (you’re welcome to).

Because Twitter is so much less conversational than Facebook or Instagram, I assume that if you tweet publicly, you are fine with me following you – but if I’m following you and you’d rather I wasn’t, just tell me and I’ll unfollow you. I welcome you to follow me (www.twitter.com/revjss). You might also want to follow the church (www.twitter.com/nilesdiscovery). And if you’d like me to follow you, please let me know.

Now, the Pneuma Conference was only one week out of thirteen, and you may be curious about what else I did during my sabbatical. Several people have asked about it – which, I must say, feels pretty nice. While I presented a simple, one-page report about the sabbatical to the Cabinet and the Pastor Parish Relations Committee, people may want a little more story. So I’m planning on doing a brief presentation (with a time for questions and responses) on Sunday, January 15.

After you’ve had a quick nibble (and I’ve had a chance to take off my robe), we can gather back in the sanctuary. I’ll share a few (I promise, only a few) pictures from my travels. I’ll share a few stories, focused primarily on how I’ve grown from the experience and what I hope the church will gain from this time of rest, renewal, and growth. I hope you’ll join me.

May the new year bring you a renewed sense of purpose, a deeper relationship with God, and a firmer commitment to your life as a disciple of Jesus.

Peace,
Pastor Jeff

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