This week on the podcast we talked about communications. Now when most parishes think about communications, a single item comes to mind; the church bulletin. For decades this has been how the parish has shared information about upcoming events in the church. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a church bulletin…but there is so much more.
According to Inter mirifica (the Decree on the Means of Social Communication from the Second Vatican Council), we are not just allowed to use modern media and its many advantages to go and make disciples, we are obligated.
The document states that the technologies that we’ve created (the document speaks in particular of forms such as print, television and radio) are gifts with which we are to proclaim The Word. We are to see them as instruments of evangelization and use them accordingly.
What does that look like?
For starters, we need to consider where people are. We speak often about the concept of meeting people where they are. This begs two questions.
Who are we trying to meet?
Where are they?
The Church should be both/and. It is for both those in the pews and those outside the doors. Too often parishes speak solely on the people in the pews. We say, “We don’t use Facebook because our parishioners don’t use Facebook”. First off, yes. Yes, they do. Second, we have to reach outside of the Church.
We’re not called to speak the Good News to some people. We’re not called to make disciples of a few nations. We are commanded by Jesus to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Each month 2.32 billion people use Facebook. Twitter boasts 261 million users. Every month, 1 billion people login and use Instagram.
This is not to suggest that the only thing we need to do is to send a few tweets and post a few selfies and our work is done. Instead, we must use anything and everything at our disposal. Sometimes this means a little piece of paper at the back of the church. Sometimes this means a well-timed tweet. Sometimes this means a Facebook group. Sometimes this means a full colour magazine produced monthly. Sometimes this means a video podcast and a weekly post on an accompanying app.
The point is this.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” – Matthew 28:16.
Each new platform and its mass of evangelized users offers a greater opportunity to share the Word and to offer the chance to have an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. Each tweet, each post, each share. They’re opportunities to evangelize and if we truly believe that what’s at stake is the very soul of every single human being on earth then we cannot afford to pass up a single opportunity.