NAD identifies Social Media among it’s strategic vision building blocks

Pages from 2013-1520

Media is the vehicle that drives our North American mission—To reach the North American Division with Hope and Wholeness. In addition to traditional mass media, social media is causing a societal sea of change. Social media users are more trusting, have more close friends, are more politically engaged, get more support from their peers, are reconnecting with the friends of their youth, and are using networks to revive dormant ties with lost connections. Social media helps the church connect in new and effective ways with the strengths of our mission, message, and members.

To what extent has the Church used media to reach our territories? Using the United States as an example, the Barna Group randomly sampled a panel of more than a thousand Americans to discover how much they knew of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The results highlight the crucial need for media renders our target publics more receptive to the message of Hope and Wholeness offered by the Church.

Nearly 40% of youth from 18-24 have never heard of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Of all US adults, 2% claim an awareness of HOPE TV and 1% Three Angels Network. Clearly, bolder approaches are needed if we are to REACH our NAD territory with hope and wholeness.

Role of Social Media as part of the North American Division Media Strategy

During 2011 and 2012 intensive analyses have been undertaken to identify the best way to manage Adventist media in a way that maximizes impact, minimizes wasteful duplication, and advances mission.

Although these studies are still in process, the Division has given intensive attention to the changing role of social media as part of the mix. Social media has the potential to advance all of the other strategic “blocks”: young adults, Adventist education for everyone, transformational evangelism, emerging immigrant populations, and women clergy hiring and enhancement. The following statements summarize these contributions:

Goal: Retention of young adults

For young adults there’s no such thing as online/offline. Young adults connect and share everything in their lives, and this extends to their faith. Social media can help us meet this new culture of connectedness. The Adventist message can be mobile and meaningful to our young adults. Like the companies they admire the most, we can aspire to exceed their expectations.

Goal: Adventist education for everyone.

The Adventist commitment to personal development through education is one of our most distinctive strengths. We can use social media to leverage this strength to engage and energize our members and our students and to attract new audiences for education. Online media is fundamentally changing how education is delivered, and now it has the capacity to reach everyone, everywhere.

Goal: Reach emerging immigrant communities.

Immigrants have flocked to social media platforms, creating their own communities and using mobile media at higher levels than their counterparts. Social media is the means they use, both to stay connected with roots and to build new connections with new communities. Any successful strategy to reach emergent communities must include a social media and mobile strategy that is designed by these communities for these communities.

Goal: Women clergy.

Women dominate social media networks. Facebook and Twitter are both 60% female. Pinterest is 79% female. For many women, the most likely source of input about life issues will be the people that they know and connect with online. The social platforms are excellent environments for affirming the role of women in ministry, and for bringing women into ministry with other women.

Partners.

As noted above, media involves virtually every ministry. Therefore it is essential that ministries are seen as contributing partners rather than passive bystanders. The NAD media strategy, when completed, will spell out in detail the role and function of all entities converging together in ways that create a dynamic synergy.

Strategy.

God calls us to use every avenue to tell the Gospel story. Social media can readily serve various ministries. We can use social media to engage with our communities for service, renewal, and outreach. We can equip our pastors and lay leadership with a dynamic understanding of how to use social media. We can develop specific social media tools and products to meet ministry needs, as well as the metrics for measuring their impact. Social media can help us build relationships that are rooted in eternity.

North American Division: To Reach Our World with Hope and Wholeness [http://www.reachnorthamerica.org/]

Postscript:

Adventist Review’s recent cover story about Social Media: http://www.adventistreview.org/issue.php?issue=2013-1520&page=16

Some OSN media samples from Younger Generation Church

YGiTunesYounger Generation Church [YG] is the vibrant young adult ministry of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church, TX, USA.  Since it’s inception, it has made integral use of media in its worship experience and has utilized the internet as a primary ministry delivery system to their larger online audience.  As an example, you will find their sermon library available on iTunes as a free downloadable video podcast.

Having a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Vimeo, and YouTube has been very valuable to Younger Generation Church, not only in the opportunity it affords in cultivating community and communication among regular attenders, but also in fostering relationships with potential viewers and extended networks of friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors of YG.

Here’s an example of a YouTube video utilized to introduce and entice online viewers to consider experiencing Younger Generation Church:

Posted on YouTube, facebook, and Twitter, the following is a photo montage clip expressing the mission of YG:

Finally, A. Allan Martin, teaching pastor at Younger Generation Church, has made various presentations internationally about the value of social media and young adult ministry.  Find here a presentation he offered at the North American Division Media Summit showcasing a case study media festival derived from YouTube:

Your Samples and Comments

Enrich this blog by including your samples in our comment section and of course feel free to add your thoughts and questions.

About A Allan Martin, PhD, CFLE

Jeremiah 24/7
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10 Responses to NAD identifies Social Media among it’s strategic vision building blocks

  1. We have been aware of the potential power of being strategic online for decades, I would love to see what emerges as a cogent strategy to enter cyberia. http://www.youthpastor.com/lessons/index.cfm/Article-Cyberia_Youth_Ministrys_New_Frontier_172.htm#.UUcbRhlAt7l

  2. deeperguy says:

    I think that the NAD is already shooting itself in the foot. Social Media has been around for nearly a decade, so it is nice to see the Church making a concerted effort to begin utilizing it. Several of the stated goals are a bit off-putting, at least to me, mostly because they appear very self serving, with the purpose to get people in a pew each week. The stated goals are to retain YA, reach immigrants, and try and get more people to buy into SDA education, and women clergy. The first three are completely self serving, and while I agree with women clergy, since the GC is officially against it, that’s almost a non-starter.

    To me, the Church is missing the entire point of social media. This is Evangelism 2.0, and we used to have such strong roots in evangelism! Traditional evangelism is getting out into the world and talking to people about Jesus. Not theology (necessarily), but about Jesus, using His method of personal interaction with others. Social media could be evangelism on steroids, if only we would let it be! But it requires getting out there into the “cyber” world, which can be both wonderful and scary, even more so than the “real” world. Building interactions with others of all stripes, from atheists to extremists….you know, like Jesus did. And if our goal is to talk to people about Jesus, even people who have been hurt and abused by a church, it could be like Pentecost in spades.

    But, sadly, the goals of the NAD it just to get some new faces in the pews, and try and keep some of the old faces from leaving. The goals are not about Jesus, at least as stated, but about showing people how great Adventists are. When did we stop using “Christ’s method alone” and taking the Gospel to every hill top out there (cyber or real) and just scale back to a “retention is good enough” strategy?

    • As with most things Adventist and Protestant and Christian, we are lagging a couple of decades. However, I would solicit your help, aiding our denomination, albeit playing catch up, even if their premise seems archaic. Would love to show them what are some best practices and suggestions for how they can begin to move at the pulse of relevant current culture…

  3. David M Dennis says:

    deeper guy — I can tell you have a passion for the gospel. And with that we agree. But I am sensing a knee-jerk dismissal of the NAD building block goals which is unfortunate.

    You speak of the first three goals as being self serving. I do not think that is the motivation behind the goals at all. The goals are certainly in our self-interest. And I would claim that is a good thing. Self-interest is not the same thing as selfishness. I brush my teeth. I do so in my self interest. This would not be considered a selfish activity. Thus, the first 3 goals are to be done in the self interest of the church. And since the church is the Body of Jesus Christ — as opposed to a political entity — taking care of the Body is a wonderful goal(s).

    I agree with you that Traditional Evangelism as taught by Jesus and highlighted in your Ministry of Healing page 143 reference is the only way. But within the context of church-speak the phrase Traditional Evangelism has a different definition. The old-school 6 meetings a week for 5 weeks; starting with Daniel 2, and preaching the Sabbath message on the first Friday evening — type of series, is my understanding of the phrase “Traditional Evangelism”. Though this method should not be thrown out, it is a method that has seen its better days. Sadly, for many members, the pastor or evangelist, running a traditional evangelistic series is the crutch used to not engage in any type of outreach personally.

    Also, the goal of more women in ministry is a starting point in my opinion. The General Conference has not endorsed ordination for women, but the goal says nothing about ordination. It is putting qualified women in places of leadership and service to the church. Ordination for women is my hope. But there is no reason not to place women in ministry awaiting that decision one way or the other. Perhaps on this goal the NAD may find itself on the vanguard instead of lagging behind.

    Now to the point of Social Media. My understanding of the goal is that working with social media should not be a replacement for the things we already do as a church, but simply a tool to enhance the things we have been doing, or should have been doing. Reaching out to the Youth and Young adults should be helped with the use of Social Media. I am more engaged with the Youth and Young Adults in person simply because of being with them on-line.

    I am sorry if I have sounded harsh. I have bought into these goals. These goals were announced last fall as I am currently preaching through the book of Acts. Peter’s dream on Simon’s roof top and the soon after gospel going to the gentiles in Antioch have huge implications for today’s church. Reaching out to the diversity in the North American Division — whether it be to religious, or non-religious people, young or old, across the various cultures, etc — is a unique challenge to the NAD. The attitude change needed in the church is huge. We need to stop calling unclean and unholy what God has cleaned and made holy. If social media can be one of the tools to get our people “out there”, and tell the story of the wonderful things happening in our congregations, and the hope offered to all people in Jesus’ family — I am all for it.

    May Jesus bless your day.

  4. David M Dennis says:

    Allan, one of the things I have started doing is a short video message each week (3 to 5 minutes) which invites people to the worship service. It started with just an idea, a desire I have each week to let people know about all the good things I know are being planned for the worship service on Sabbath. And by letting people know — I mean members, non-members, and hopefully first time visitors.

    So, the first time I just tried a webcam video. It was pretty bad. But now the creativity is flowing, and I am putting a little production into the invitation to make it interesting. This week we have a guy coming to church who is a really good singer. I plan to interview him for 3 minutes.

    I am posting it on the church’s YouTube channel. It then quickly migrates to the churches twitter and facebook pages. One re-tweet and the Invitation is on my twitter page, and personal facebook page. Getting the invitation out across all platforms is the simple part.

    The viewership is going up each week. Will it have any affect? I do not know. But I am willing to try for a while.

  5. David M Dennis says:

    Here was last week’s Invitation.

  6. Social Media keeps me updated and better informed as to what is taking place in the lives of the people I serve. Knowing what is going on in a persons world, and being able to share/respond in real time is an invaluable tool It keeps me connected to people I care about. It also helps keep promotional/advertising costs much lower! It’s a critical tool to say the least… I also use it for closed groups so I am able to share/support leaders in diff. geographical locations.

  7. Adrian D. Riojas says:

    As I sit here in a cafe in Texas, I am reminded of the words of David Kinniman, President and CEO of the Barna group. In speaking a few weeks ago at our church, he said something very profound that stroke a chord with me. That was that cyberspace is “digital babylon.” Its nearly an entire earth all its own. Our young people spend hours upon hours on social media platforms each day. We are called, as Ministers to go out into the world and meet people where they are. Always with the goal of reaching them with Jesus. At least personally, that is how I feel. The online world of social media; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+ etc., it should all, always, be infected like a virus with grace. We must completely infiltrate the platforms others use to spread sin to spread the message of Jesus. We can call it whatever we want, an NAD strategic social media campaign if you wish, but it in its simplest form is telling people about Jesus. Even to those who have never known a church, may they come to know Jesus.

  8. It’s funny how this article could be posted months ago and be seen so much later, and STILL make a difference. I’m so touched by what I’m seeing your church doing with internet tools, and I wish the best for you all! I’m currently working on a project called http://www.teachSDA.org where we’re trying to make the same kind of connections, specifically for Adventist educators around the world, and things are going slowly, as it seems that many educators, divisions, conferences, etc are hesitant to dip a toe in. Excited to see how you’re accomplishing your goals! And I hope to hear from you soon!

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