June 15, 2012

A Lutheran Perspective on Social Media in the Discernment/Call Process

Lutheran Pastor Keith Anderson recently posted this blog advocating that all clergy maintain a personal blog or website. He says:

Tip: if you don’t already have personal blog or website, start one. Share some sermons, video, your ideas, reflections, and pictures. Give people a way to get to know you and your work. Just as we expect churches to have website, we increasingly expect leaders themselves to have some kind of online platform. Tumblr.com or WordPress.com are both good options.

The Episcopal OTM Portfolio, particularly the Connections page, gives Episcopal clergy a platform for posting all the material Anderson advocates we publish, without the hassle of developing our own website or blog. That said, a personal blog gives clergy more freedom to structure their digitized information in a more compelling and attractive way. Moreover, maintaining a personal blog shows search committees that you have a skill that parishes increasingly seek in the clergy, the ability to use social media. If you are not that internet savvy, taking a social media course should be high on your list of continuing education projects.

If you do chose to set up a personal blog or website, do more than create an elaborate online resume. Design a platform that expresses your core values and purpose. Anderson’s recommendation “It’s best avoid controversial posts,” makes me uneasy. If you value controversy, and if shaking things up is part of your core purpose, don’t hide that in order to find a job. You may be called to a parish that abhors controversy and find yourself suppressing what is near and dear to your ministry.