Tag: Leadership

The Beatitudes of Church & Social Media

Today’s guest post comes from Benjamin DeCastro. He lives in Warren, RI with his wife Susan, and is a Marketing & Social Media Strategist.  He spent 15 years working for the largest furniture retailer in Southern New England as the Director of Promotions, Events & Media Relations which included marketing, creating ads, media planning & buying as well as the company’s spokesman.  Ben is also a musician, having played drums, keyboards & accordion for a number of bands – presently the drummer for the 2016 New England Music Awards Country Act of the Year – The Annie Brobst Band, based out of Boston, MA.  Read more about Ben at benjamindecastro.com or follow him on Facebook.

If you’re a small group leader, media volunteer, elder, pastor or staff person at a church you already know that Social Media is a great tool to use for connecting and outreach, however – there needs to a strategy behind how it’s implemented. It’s something that takes time. Regularly scheduling 2-3 hours per week to manage your various social media channels will keep your pages looking fresh, exciting, and inviting.

When I was thinking about this recently, I came up with this list of helpful tips that you can use to improve your Social Media plan.

Blessed are those who Like, they and their organization shall be liked.
Logistical Note: This can only be done via your laptop or desktop computer. For a page you want to like as your Church Page, right click over the “three dot photo” on the far right of the pages cover photo and select the option to “Like as your page.”
If you’re going to like a photo, status, link or event – you’ll need to select who you’re liking by clicking on the small image on the right side of the item you wish to like and change who you like from there – specifically for that event.

Blessed are those who respond to comments and messages on Facebook, for they shall be considered responsive.
Thoughtful, appropriate comments are always great! Jokes that need an explanation just don’t work, so don’t waste your time.

Blessed are those who regularly post, for they shall inherit engagement.
But remember – it’s got to be part of the plan – too much and you’ll get blocked!

Blessed are those who take photos for Facebook and Instagram, for they get the picture.
Be sure parishioners in the photo are ok with having their image posted in social media.

Blessed are those who Tweet relevant content, for they shall receive retweeted.
I know they’re important, but 10 individual tweets of each of the 10 Commandments has been done, many times before… just saying.

Blessed are those who utilize Facebook live during a Sunday morning service, for they shall be considered not-dead.
Be sure the person who does this uses a stand for the device they’re going live. Save people the trouble of purchasing motion-sickness pills.

Blessed are those who create events on the church Facebook page, for those events will be remembered and attended.
Even if you’re not getting a ton of RSVP’s – it will show up in the notifications of those who follow your page – it’s like the weekly bulletin you can’t throw away!

Blessed are those who boost posts thoughtfully and responsibly, for they shall see growth in a multitude of ways.
Be a good steward of the financial gifts that God has entrusted to you and strategically plan if you’re going to boost. Also, before you boost, be sure you take the time to review all the details before you place the order- this will help you maximize the potential for the budget you allocate as well as the audience you reach!

Blessed is the Pastor, who encourages check-in’s on a Sunday Morning, for he challenges people to virtually open the doors to their network in a very real way.
Not everyone will do this, but some will – and that helps boost the organic reach your page has!

Blessed is the multi-media team who actively recruits those of the congregation to share a testimony on video with permission to share it on the various platforms, for they shall be seen as approachable and not considered “Apple Geeks”
Do I really need to go into detail on this one?

I hope you found these both humorous and helpful. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and almost every other social media platform can certainly be useful tools for outreach and ministry. Take the time to formulate the guidelines of how you’re going to utilize social media and seek out help from trustworthy sources when you need it!

Stay Social!
~bigBEN

Photo credit by Jaelynn Castillo.

Comfortably Uncomfortable

What seasons of your life have you experienced the most growth? I had graduated from college and embarked on a journey to Springfield, MO. My brother and sister-in-law had graciously provided me a place to stay as I began graduate school. Flying out on New Year’s Day, I had an idealistic view of hitting the ground running.

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The first few weeks did not go as planned. It took more time to get connected to a community than I thought. The job search ended with me at a school cafeteria and catering service. I found myself wandering and at times floundering asking God, “Why am I here?”

Comfort comes in various forms and fashions. Some find comfort in control, the ability to create predictable circumstances. Others tend to see comfort in equilibrium, situations and relationships at peace without any conflict. Each of us has our definition and image this kind of security and exportability.

Most of our growth comes in seasons of uncomfortableness. Those moments when we have to work towards a resolution to a conflict. It arrives in the midst of the unexpected changes and unforeseeable detours to our plans. We look for every way out finding no escape only to look back to see the grace of God transforming our hearts and lives.

Following the first few weeks in Springfield went from uncomfortable to comfortably uncomfortable. In that time, I started to connect with friends and embraced the opportunities. Christ began to humble my heart. The transformation that needed to occur needed to happen within me. Not the ideal vision I had thought, but the exact season I needed to mature.

Tod Bolsinger in Canoeing the Mountains makes a compelling insight about leadership, but also applies to each of us personally as we follow Christ:

The art of leadership is helping the system override the instinct of self-preservation and replace it with a new organizational instinct to be curious about and open to the terrifying discomfort of asking, Could God be up to something?

Our default responses to uncomfortable predicaments range from fight, flight, dismissiveness, stubbornness, and often blame shifting. What we might find is growth that would never occur unless we got outside of our comfort zones.

Today, I hope you can embrace the comfortably uncomfortable. The next time we face one of these moments or seasons we can ask the question, “Could God be up to something?”

In what uncomfortable season have you experienced growth? How might God cause growth in your life during a current uncomfortable moment?

Photo credit by Jared Erondu.

Reads of the Week | 01/30/2016

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Start your weekend with these five articles in the Reads of the Week.

When the Coffee Machine is Just a Human by Andrew Pilsch

Pilsch shares about the qualitative difference of coffee made by humans as opposed to the instant pod one cup. I agree, coffee made by humans tastes better.

Re(de)fining Purpose by Carlie Galla

Carlie calls readers to look beyond goals, careers, and dreams to start as the question of character. Many of us need a little more focus on who we are becoming as opposed to where we are going.

Tuesday Reflection: Who Knows How to Listen? by Seth Haines

Last week, I read Haines’ book Coming Clean, and I highly recommend it. His short reflection invites to experience silence so that we can hear from God.

One Day I Stepped into a Puddle and Disappeared by Becky Martin 

Becky just started blogging, and her first posts have been fantastic. She wrote a remarkable post about motherhood and finding her identity in Christ.

Our Prayer Instincts are Backwards by Andrew Wilson

Wilson makes a phenomenal observation on prayer:

The topsy-turvy order of the Lord’s Prayer is one reason it is so remarkable. Jesus’ disciples knew the Scriptures, so they probably already knew how to ask for rescue, forgiveness, necessities, and God’s action in the world. What they didn’t know, and what Jesus wanted to make sure they never forgot, is that prayer is not intended to move from action to relationship.

What were your reads of the week? Share the links in the comment section below.

Photo credit by Roman Mager.

5 Quotes from 2015

What will you remember from 2015? This season calls us to remember how we have grown in the last year.  We think about the certain moments and relationships that caused us to mature. Reflecting on 2015 gives us insight into the work of Christ in us. What we learned, recognized, and areas of our lives that Christ called us to grow.

As I thought about remembering 2015, I wanted to share the five most meaning quotes from this past year:

Aloof: Figuring Out Life with a God who Hides by Tony Kriz

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Four Faces of a Leader by Bob Rhoden

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1 Peter (Two Horizons New Testament Commentary) by Joel B. Green

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The Good and Beautiful Life by James Bryan Smith

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Leap Over the Wall by Eugene Peterson

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What will you remember from 2015? Share in the comment section below.

Reads of the Week | 11/07/2015

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These five reads from this past week challenged, encouraged, and provided perspective for me. Check them out for yourself.

Leaders Who Can See and Hear Others by Jill Berkowicz and Ann Myers

This article shares the valuable perspective of observant leadership. Successful leaders learn how to listen and see from other people’s perspective.

Dorms for Grownups: A Solution for Lonely Millenials by Alana Semuels

Troy Evans of Syracuse, NY has started to pilot shared space apartments. This fascinating concept infuses our discussions about experiencing community together.

5 Mistakes You’re Making on Instagram by AJ Agrawal

Five insightful pieces of wisdom to help you post to Instagram. A list for all of us to keep in mind.

Why I’m a Pastor Who Stopped Giving Answers by Tom Hughes

Listen to what Tom Hughes points out about Jesus in the Bible:

Throughout the four Gospels in the Bible, Jesus was asked 183 questions. Of those 183 questions, how many do you think he answered directly? Four. He responded to the other 179 questions sometimes with a story, sometimes with an action, but most often with another question.

Perhaps, Jesus’ mode of teaching will help us connect better with each other.

How Suffering Saved my Faith by Shannon Evans

Evans provides a practical view of seeing suffering. She speaks of the process of removing some wrong assumptions about God in the midst of suffering in our lives.

What were your reads of the week? Share the links in the comment section below.

Photo credit to Mikhail Pavstyuk.

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