Seasons of preparation like Advent and Lent are good times to use social media to help people connect the times of the church with their everyday lives.

Two congregations in our synod, Good Shepherd in Decorah, and St. James in Mason City are using social media in different ways to help remind people that Advent is a time of waiting and preparation.

St. James has chosen a theme for the season “Wait with St. James”, along with the hashtag #waitwithstjames.

The hashtag is projected every Sunday on the screen and listed in the bulletin.  Each week during the worship they read a children’s book to think about how they wait.

 Members of St. James are then encouraged to use the hashtag #waitwithstjames when they post pictures and statuses about how they are preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ.

 

“With so much about Christmas surrounding us, I want to lift up the importance of Advent,” comments St. James Pastor Jennifer Bohls.

“In years past, I have used social media personally to show how our family observes Advent and this year we are encouraging others to do the same.”

Good Shepherd Lutheran in Decorah has designed a Word for the Day Advent Calendar.

Members are invited to use the word to center their thoughts and be with God throughout the day.

The word is also posted on their Facebook page and members are invited to share and post images and thoughts that relate to that word with the hashtag #GSAdventprayer.

“People at Good Shepherd are really engaging this. In regular conversation people will say ‘hey, that connects to the word for today, ‘” reports Good Shepherd Pastor Amy Zalk Larson.

“Families report that kids are sharing over supper where they saw the word for the day.”

As social media is becoming more and more a part of everyday life, we need to be thinking of ways to help people integrate their faith into their online lives.

“Social media has been a really good way to connect our members to each other and to the season of Lent,” notes Pastor Jennifer Bohls.

Pastor Amy Larson observes “It has been a real gift to our congregation.”

What are some ways you use social media to connect your folks with the life of the church?

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.

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