1 Corinthians 9:22 “To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I became all things to all men that I might save all. And I do all things for the gospel’s sake: that I may be made partaker thereof.”
The Apostle Paul, during his period of evangelization took every opportunity available to make the ‘good news’ known to ‘all nations.” Imagine if he had the opportunity we have now in this digital age. Will technology be too techie for the Apostle of All Nations?
Contrary to common misconception that the internet is for the young ones, the internet with the entire supporting gadget available in the market today is actually specifically made for all ages and all abilities even the differently able. And I mean even the differently able! Have bad vision or poor eyesight? Use the app ULTIMeyes to improve your eyesight. Have poor hearing? Download HearYouNow and amplify the sounds!
Virtually all of society can do participate in the online world regardless of age and ability. Saint Paul during his time had to adjust just to immerse and adapt. We Catholics even with the fast moving world now have the opportunity for online evangelization even on our spare time and free time.
During the recently held fourth instalment of the Catholic Social Media Summit in Santa Rosa, Laguna the theme, “Plugged In” is actually an open invitation to everyone to join and be an online missionary. It is a call for a movement to Christianize cyberspace. Serving the Church has never been this exciting. It is time to tell the world that the Church listens, the Church reaches out.
So are you ready to get ‘Plugged In’? Here are a few tips for your Church online evangelization:
1. Be present online.
One common mistake is the lack of online presence of your parish, church or organization. Though ‘personal accounts’ are good, faithful often find it more comfortable to communicate with official accounts. One doesn’t need to be technologically professional. Start up a Facebook page and a Twitter account as your channels and you’re ready. Why the two social media platforms? Target reach can easily be reached because 71% of all online adults use Facebook while 37% of online 18-29 year olds, 25% of 30-49 year olds and 12% of 50-64 year olds use Twitter.
2. Be a source of information.
From Mass schedule to parish office schedule making your parish bulletin and newsletter available online generates the needed interest and will result to consistent visits to you social media channels.
3. Be creative and know your followers.
Knowing the interest of you followers will eventually give you the much needed information on what contents you can prepare for your post. Plus a little touch of creativity can work wonders. Always keep in mind that social media channels are images and creating contents and post with appealing imagery will trigger interest. Besides, the early Christians opted in the use of images and icons to evangelize and there is very little difference in our time. Fill cyberspace with Catholic imagery!
4. Be interactive.
Here is where you can get your opportunity to evangelize. Like telemarketers prepare spiels or reply templates that carry a touch of ‘Catholicism’. From the greeting and the Christian concern and compassion to being a friend who listens, you can easily generate ‘trust.’ And keep in mind trust leads to conversion.
5. Practice what you preach.
Of course there’s nothing more important than being prepared to evangelize. Anything you read offensive should be a challenge and don’t reply if you are too emotional. Being under the state of grace is ideal. Don’t forget, when we practice Christian virtues we easily inspire.