The Church, Social Media and Young Adults

As a Church seeking to engage with young adults in particular, social media can be a particularly effective tool for mission and ministry.  You can find a selection of reflections and books to help you explore this here.  

Snap 2014-08-14 at 11.23.49“Do not read this”  – an reflection around the author’s thought  that ‘The internet makes
me better informed, but it is not making me better.’  
He poses the challenge that maybe we should have digital ‘Sabbaths’ – a break from the incessant need to check emails, Facebook, surf the net, watch YouTube in order to go a little deeper into what really matters.

“Happy 10th Birthday Facebook” – a brief comment on the cultural impact of Facebook

Snap 2014-08-14 at 12.39.27“Redeeming culture in a digital age”  An article acknowledging that there may be aspects of digital space that are not positive and looking at actions that can be taken towards redeeming some of the dark places in our culture.


online“Online Mission and Ministry”, Pam Smith, SPCK, 2015, ISBN 9780281071517

Many clergy and churches are now taking to the internet and social media to promote their churches or ministries, but few have thought through some of the difficult pastoral and theological issues that may arise. ‘Virtual vicar’ Revd Pam Smith guides both new and experienced practitioners through setting up online ministries and considers some of the issues that may arise, such as: Are relationships online as valid as those offline? Is it possible to participate in a ‘virtual’ communion service? How do you deal with ‘trolls’ in a Christian way? What is it appropriate for a clergyperson to say on social media?  There is a chapter on setting out the theological understandings behind this form of ministry, as well advice on where to start, how to offer pastoral care, discipleship and growth in spirituality and how to grow communion as well as some of the pitfalls and difficulties.

Author Pam Smith is the vicar of i-Church.  i-church is an online Christian community
based on Benedictine principles and was founded by the Diocese of Oxford in the UK
but has members all over the world. – for more information, visit their website.leadership social“Leadership and Social Networking.  Updating your  ministry status” Anna Drew and Richard Moy, Grove Books, 2011, ISBN 9781851748082

Some leaders are blazing a social networking trail through cyberland. Many more wonder wearily if this is yet another thing they ‘must’ do to lead their church into growth. And a few simply throw up their hands in despair. There are pitfalls of the need to be needed, addiction and loneliness, and yet, skilfully used, social media can enhance our community lives, mission, understanding of our people and ability to mentor in a fragmented world. With many young adults using social media, this book is a helpful tool for leaders wanting to enter this world.

This book provides an overview of some of the key tools of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.  Key functions for leaders include

  • building relationships beyond immediate circles of friends
  • building community
  • modelling lifestyle
  • engaging in discussion
  • engaging in research
  • making resources available
  • information sharing
  • accountability of time (letting people know what you’re doing and when!

There are helpful suggestions on how to begin using social media as well as some checks on ensuring that it doesn’t become your master.  Tricky issues are addressed such as ‘to speak or not to speak’, safeguarding, balancing private and public space, avoiding being letting social media ‘amuse ourselves to death’.There is also a useful list of further reading.

online church

“Online Church?  First steps towards virtual incarnation” Mark Howe, Grove Books, 2007, ISBN 9781851746743

What is ‘online church’? How does it work, in terms of worship, fellowship and mission? And, in the end, is it church?   This expert guide draws on the experience of St Pixels, an online Christian community, and makes a powerful case for taking such online communities seriously as part of the body of Christ.





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