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Book recommendation and review: Twitter for Churches

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  • John D. Smith
    I posted this to my blog and thought com-prac folks would be interested. Rebecca Egolf , I think, recommended The reason YOUR
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 5 6:00 PM
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      I posted this to my blog and thought com-prac folks would be interested.
      Rebecca Egolf <http://delicious.com/rebegolf> , I think, recommended The
      reason YOUR <http://twitterforchurches.com/> CHURCH must Twitter; making
      your ministry contagious by Anthony D. Coppedge
      <http://anthonycoppedge.com/problog/> and I’ve recommended it to several
      people since buying the $5 e-book about a week ago. So it comes with
      excellent ecumenical credentials, since her recommendation said, in effect,
      that it was “good for synagogues, too.” (I noticed that the book is
      scrupulously non-denominational but it’s clearly American Evangelical.)
      Indeed I think that the book would be helpful for leaders of all kinds of
      spiritual and religious communities. Beyond that, it’s a nice example of how
      to teach people that a tool like Twitter needs to be approached in the
      context of ongoing social practice. It combines lots of basic how-to
      instructions and hints at how Twitter could be used in the every-day life of
      a church. (Because I’m in the final stages of publishing a book myself, I
      have to mention two typos that I noticed: it should be “Dr. Edwin Land” on
      page 54 and “People’s lives are busy” on page 29; also when I printed it
      there were no page numbers which makes it clumsy for referencing passages.)
      The many screen-shots that are included are very good, too.

      There’s a practice. This book is more than just a manual on how to use
      Twitter. (There are certainly enough of them out there by now.) What struck
      a chord with me was the feeling that it gave me a window into some of what
      being a pastor in a church is about. Pastors are pivotal leaders who play a
      very complex role in their communities. Sometimes they are domain
      spokespersons, sometimes team leaders (of volunteer or paid teams), and
      sometimes learners trudging along the path. Most interesting, you get the
      sense from reading this book that there is a widely distributed community of
      practice of church pastors who have a lot to learn from each other. (It’s a
      professionalized occupation, or calling, where seminaries have had a
      gate-keeping role, so learning from each other may need more support than it
      did a generation or two ago.) But the book suggests that pastors need to
      learn from each other about handling issues of connecting with church
      members selectively and impactfully, with personal privacy, and with
      marginality (e.g., not just being ‘relevant on Sundays only’). All these
      issues come up in the context of using Twitter for a church. So, bottom
      line, the practice of being a pastor is similar to that of leading many
      other communities of practice. There could be a lot of learning on both

      There’s a community. I love the way Coppedge suggests that there’s a real
      social network out there that can provide examples and support. (And he just
      names names like spiritual entrepreneur Dave Ferguson
      <http://twitter.com/daveferguson> or digerati pastor Terry Storch
      <http://twitter.com/terrystorch> ). Following them or Anthony Coppedge
      <http://twitter.com/anthonycoppedge> himself obviously gives you access to
      that community. But I found it surprising that his book didn’t mention
      hashtags. Beyond increasing traffic with such things as #followfriday
      <http://twitter.com/anthonycoppedge/status/2457321698> , hash tags are an
      obvious way for conversations within a church or among a community of
      pastors to take place. Why not advocate hashtags like these?

      * #pdx1stbaptist <http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23pdx1stbaptist>

      * #t4pastors <http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23t4pastors>
      * #t4church <http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23t4church>

      There’s a learning agenda. Finally, the book is filled with nice quotes that
      suggest an authentic learning agenda. For example:

      “The Church cannot be content to live in its stained-glass house and throw
      stones through the picture window of modern culture.” — Robert MacAfee Brown

      Although the worry may not be stated in terms of stained glass, I’ve heard
      Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Buddhists voice very similar concerns.
      Relevance and connection are very important. Addressing the issue will take
      more than Twitter.

      * John D. Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd
      * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net
      * “The next Buddha may take the form of a community -- a community
      * practicing understanding and loving kindness…” Thich Nhat Hanh.

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