Dave “Thunderdome” Van Vickle and I are talking about the importance of digital evangelization. If we are trying to meet people where they are, we need to be online.
We cover best practices for parishes and individuals to spread the Word on the web, as well as examples of things we’ve seen work really well (like this podcast).
We want to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story, question, or comment—or if you’ve got a new nickname for Dave.
Snippet from the Show
“We have to bring the gospel where people are interacting. We need someone to talk to people where they are, which is online.”
Question from our listeners:
If we have room in the budget who should we hire next?
- A communications person!
- Someone who can overhaul your parish’s outreach via the internet.
- The way your website looks affects whether people will come to your parish.
What practical advice would you give parishes in using digital communication for evangelization?
- A presence on social media is very important (Facebook, Twitter … )
- Look at your website and update it.
- Make sure Mass times are on your homepage.
- Make sure you have a final editor who is in charge of your site.
As an individual what can you do to evangelize online?
- Make a website and then make a blog.
- Start with what you are super passionate about and get it out there.
- Focus on great content, worry about branding later.
What have you seen done well?
- Posting of non-parish related Catholic stuff.
- Use your online media as a form of education.
- There is so much room on the internet for your parish, but you don’t need to put it all on your website.
- People can easily create additional resources online to supplement your website.
- You can build a very basic site and link to other information.
- Have an interactive section.
- Make sure to interact with the engagement or it will die out.
- Don’t invest in a tool that you won’t have someone assigned to.
- It can be a significant time investment.
Where does digital evangelization not work?
- If you have a poorly maintained website (for example, outdated confession times) people may leave the parish.
- Don’t rely so much on the digital that it replaces a physical meeting time.
- It should supplement, not replace.
- Don’t over complicate the site.
Do you have a set of rules for how you engage people online?
- Kindness can humanize people behind aggressive comments.
- You don’t have to respond to people who are trying to attack without engaging.
- Sometimes pushing back can be healing.
- Have strict rules for your online groups.
How can we use it better to encourage more personal interactions to open hearts?
- Build places for people to go with evergreen content.
- Have prebuilt resources for common situations as well.
- Don’t just think of it as social media in the big networks—look into places where people can maintain contact/chat.
- Exodus 90, WhatsApp …
How can we better use digital communication to reach the unchurched as well as the people in the pews?
- Better done by non-professional Catholics
- Have an online presence and let your Catholic influence just kind of seep in.
- Use the online version of the grocery store line “I’ll pray for you.”
- Go to places that already exist and contribute there.
- Use your hobbies as ideas of places to go.
5 Practical Tips
- Do a digital examination of what your parish offers and what you offer.
- Look into digital content resources (content management and strategy).
- Look at the spiritual and corporate works of mercy and accomplish one digitally.
- Create something new that speaks directly to your passion in the Church.
- Pray for Christians who are in danger for sharing and practicing their faith.