My plunge into the world of digital Christian Formation began when I was asked to attend the three-day 2013 e-Formation Conference and return to Alabama to share what I had learned.
As I looked over the workshop offerings, doubts about whether I was ready to dip my toes in the water and begin a new way of thinking about ministry arose. “After all, we are a church, if you want to be a part of what is going on, then come to the church” is a mantra that has been said many times and I am also guilty of repeating. I have come to realize that we say these things to our detriment, and now is the time to transform our longstanding traditions through new media.
During the e-Formation weekend hosted by the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary, we were surrounded by such a wealth of faith and expertise, the sheer amount of information offered at each workshop was remarkable and overwhelming at the same time! Each workshop offered hands-on participation that culminated in a real-time digital learning experience and application with each session. Workshops were as varied as the content presented even though the end goal of each was the same: to share the Gospel of Christ.
The e-Formation workshops were hands-on learning for all, whether one serves as a communication director, clergy, Christian formation director, or parish volunteer. Sessions covered a variety of topics, including designing dynamic presentations or an online faith formation center, curating resources, mobile apps, expanding social media in your congregation, and web-based conferencing. Additional workshops emphasized building an online website presence, creating a video for the web, writing blogs, Google for ministry, and more.
I have begun to use much of what I learned: I created a Pinterest page for Christian formation directors in our diocese, a Facebook page for our parish, and a Twitter account. I have also begun to curate resources as well as establish a greater online presence in our community. The annual e-Formation Conference will benefit you in whatever capacity you find yourself serving in the church.
So, come on in, the water is fine. You and your ministry will benefit as you take the plunge!
Christina Dorn (@ChristinaDorn) is the Director of Christian Formation at Grace Episcopal Church in Anniston, Ala. This article was first published on the Forma website and is re-published with the kind permission of the author and Forma.