Five years and some change ago, I made the decision to start a blog. Ugh. I had become one of them. You know, those people that think what they have to say is so interesting and important that people will want to follow them. Those people that think that just because the little button on the blog page says “Publish” means that they’ve actually contributed to some meaningful or respectful cause. Yeah, those people.
I was not thrilled about the idea, and was very self-conscious. When I first thought of the idea as a means to keep friends and family in touch with what I was doing (at their request), I resisted. When I found that it was, in fact, the easiest way to do so, I apprehensively began writing, but was not keen on sharing it too publicly. Maybe if down the road there were people who were interested in the friars and wanted to know what life was like… maybe they could read some of the posts.
As with most things, though, I was immediately stretched beyond my comfort, and have been stretched ever since.
The fact of the matter is social media is a powerful means of connecting with people and spreading information. Even though I was just some random person living in the armpit of the US—by which I mean Wilmington, DE—people wanted to read my posts and ask me questions. Over the next three years, I started to get messages from all over, asking me about being a friar, wanting to know what my personal experience was like, and requesting prayers. I accepted this new endeavor, as it were, as a sort of ministry through social media.
But as in most ministry experiences, just as I was beginning to feel comfort in what I was doing, I felt a push to stretch further. What about really stepping out there? Writing a blog with a few hundred followers is one thing, but its impact is minimal. People don’t read that much. They spend their time watching, and sharing, easy to consume videos on YouTube. What about making videos, the voice inside asked. Ugh. I don’t want to become one of them. YouTubers are even worse than bloggers because they think that they’re so special people not only want to know what they’re thinking, they want to watch them ramble on about nothing. They think that just because they’ve posted a video with their expensive camera that they “make movies.” Yeah, those people.
Once again, I was not thrilled with the idea. But once again, there I was, buying a camera and filming a road trip across the country. Almost immediately, it expanded to regular reflections, and before I knew it, I was completely engrossed in the world of making videos: watching YouTube for tips, taking a film class, and all the while becoming more comfortable with the new ministry.
I share this bit of background as a means of exhortation. Why not do the same? What I have done over the past five years or so is not the work of an expert with loads of education in the field, its simply the result of being honest to who I am and open to where that might lead me. With the amount of time that people spend on social media sites, that’s where we as Church need to be. Why not meet people where they are, replacing what they’re consuming with quality messages? Why not evangelize through social media?
Knowing, of course, that there is not one right way of doing this, I do think that there are some common principles that we should always keep in mind. This most recent video shares seven of them.
For those on email, click here to watch the video.