The Social Media Gospel
Sharing the Good News in New Ways
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From the Foreword
In many ways, the church is blazing new paths with social media. Now is the time to do a new thing, to proclaim God's word in new and exciting ways. It is good to read about social media; it is good to think about how you're going to move forward. Sooner or later the time will come when you just have to take the plunge. The Social Media Gospel will help you!- Rev. David Hansen, @Rev_David
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and a growing number of other social media tools can help you build church, deepen faith, and extend your reach in previously unimaginable ways. In this easy-to-understand, step-by-step guide to digital ministry, church communications professional Meredith Gould goes beyond "how to" and explains "why to" engage your parish in the world of social media.
Social media tools make it possible to share conversations and content with the long-time faithful, disaffected millennials, the homebound, and spiritual seekers within and beyond church-the-building.
Inspired by the Gospel and centered on Christ, The Social Media Gospel gently guides you and your church leaders and volunteers through the rapidly changing world of social media, helping you preach the Good News in new ways.
Meredith Gould, PhD, is a digital strategist with well over a decade of hands-on experience with communications at all levels of church across denominations. She's the author of eight books about faith and everyday life. Her book The Word Made Fresh: Communicating Church and Faith Today (Morehouse) helped establish church communication as a vital ministry. Dr. Gould is the founder and lead moderator of the weekly ecumenical Twitter-based chat about church social media (#chsocm), serves on the External Advisory Board for the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, and is nationally known for her passionate advocacy of using these tools wisely and well for ministry. Learn more at her website: www.meredithgould.com.
Gould's on the ground knowledge and sense of humor make this a quick and enjoyable read with immense and immediate payoff.
The internet and social media are invaluable tools in the ministries of evangelization, communication, and community building. Social media tools make it possible to share content with the longtime faithful, disaffected millennials, the homebound, and spiritual seekers beyond the church walls. Meredith Gould's The Social Media Gospel is an excellent resource for anyone looking to optimize their social media presence for ministry. This is a useful guide to digital ministry. Each chapter includes reflection questions that will be helpful in building a personalized social media strategy. For the novice and the uncertain, this book provides step-by-step advice; for those already active, it is an invitation to reflect on what they are doing and ways to improve. I would recommend this book to pastors and all involved in religious communication and evangelization.
Father John Molyneux, CMF, Editor, U.S. Catholic
I've continually looked to Meredith Gould as a role model for how to get Church social media `right.' Packed with style, substance and spirit, The Social Media Gospel is the perfect primer for anyone looking to optimize their social media presence for evangelization, communication and community building. Meredith's advice is clear enough for the novice while challenging for those who have used these tools in the past.
Lisa M. Hendey, Founder of CatholicMom.com and author of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms
"Meredith Gould makes it clear: Social media is an incredibly powerful tool for proclaiming the message of the gospel. We ignore it at our peril. For those who want a primer, this book lays out a plan for setting up a social media strategy in ministry."
The Reverend Michael W. Rinehart, bishop, Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
"For years, Meredith Gould guided and mentored me as I navigated social media. She has consistently modeled spiritual discipline, pastoral care and community building on Twitter. Now Meredith has taken her innovative practice along with our historic wisdom and distilled it. For those beginning to explore new technologies, those regularly engaging with social media, or for anyone who wants to communicate the good news to a new generation-The Social Media Gospel is crucial."
Carol Howard Merritt, author of Tribal Church and Reframing Hope
Meredith Gould answers the questions many church leaders and ministers have about the use of social media for ministry in her new book, The Social Media Gospel. A ministry insider and experienced user of social media, Meredith overcomes objections and eases fears with knowledgeable insights, good humor and excellent end-of chapter reflection questions. The Social Media Gospel is a delightfully warm and welcoming invitation to share the Good News in new ways.
Sister Susan Wolf, SND (@srsusan), Founder and President of Catholic Web Solutions
Meredith Gould has poured her training as a sociologist, experience as a magazine writer, omnivorous appetite for social media and passion for the Gospel into a book that should appeal to just about anyone who thinks about digital ministry. Scholars will appreciate her grasp of research, practitioners will value her insights about choosing social media, and newcomers will be reassured by a comprehensive discussion of issues that arise when one becomes active in the online world. The Social Media Gospel is a valuable contribution from one of the best known thinkers in the field.
Jim Naughton, editor of Episcopal Cafe and co-author of Speaking Faithfully: Communications as Evangelism in a Noisy World
For those interested in mission and ministry in the newly-discovered, heavily-peopled, land of the internet, Meredith Gould's book on The Social Media Gospel is a must read. For those of us already active there, Meredith brings an invitation to reflect on what we are doing and ways to improve. For those new and uncertain-here is step-by-step advice from a skilled practitioner.
Rev. Bosco Peters, www.liturgy.co.nz, @liturgy
"In the world of social media where so many proclaim themselves as "how to" gurus, Meredith Gould breaks through the clutter and jargon. She uses simple language to help churches and pastors understand why social media is important and how to effectively use it as a tool for ministry. This book is for the beginner or those looking to go further with social media.
Rev. Alan Rudnick, pastor, author, blogger, and social media practitioner
The Word is active and alive via social media, connecting minds and hearts through shared faith. While some church leaders fear exploring the digital mission field, people like Meredith Gould write groundbreaking books like this one, fearlessly and wisely leading the way to a truly new evangelization.
Fran Rossi Szpylczyn, Catholic writer and lay minister blogging at There Will Be Bread
If your church is using social media or considering it, you need to read The Social Media Gospel. As a veteran sociologist, author, Twitter chat host and lover of Christ and his church, there's no one better qualified to serve as your guide to church social media than Meredith Gould.
Paul Steinbrueck, co-founder & CEO of OurChurch.Com
The Social Media Gospel provides an outstanding survey of social media tools that deliver conversation and content to the faithful, reaching beyond church walls to involve those who cannot or will not attend church. It provides church leaders and volunteers with insights on the social media process, consideration how Good News is spread, received, and disseminated, and each chapter concludes with `thought bytes' to cover points beyond general social media discussion-such as if every church should establish a blog, and how to apply the principle of `know thyself' when choosing a social media format. This is a must for any church seeking to expand the message beyond church walls.
The Midwest Book Review
This brief and compelling book packs a punch, combining immense insight into the phenomenon of social media with practical wisdom on the how of communicating gospel in social media contexts. It has become my go-to book to share with anyone interested in a combination of the why and how of social media ministry.
Clint Schnekloth, pastor, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Fayetteville, Arkansas, and author of the forthcoming Mediating Faith: Faith Formation in a Transmedia Culture (Fortress Press, 2014)
Every missionary is tasked with figuring out the mission context in which they minister. Meredith Gould has provided an excellent resource to those who believe that the future of mission lies in a world where networked lives and amplified humans await the proclamation of the Gospel. The Social Media Gospel offers a road map for those leaving the Church of the modern era behind for the adventurous missionary landscape of a social-structured world.
The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, IX Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Texas
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