The Opportunity in Digital Evangelism at #GC78

11 Jun

Smartphones have flipped the script for advertisers. 82% of smartphone users have counted on the device to guide a purchasing decision at the point of sale according to research by Google. I am not surprised, because I am one of the 82%. I have found myself checking Rotten Tomato scores when selecting a movie, consumer reviews when buying a television, and more. And this “I want to buy moment” is just one of what Google names micro-moments. The search giant’s studies also find micro-moments for:

  • I want to know
  • I want to go
  • I want to do

Like supplicants seeking direction from the Oracle at Delphi, we go to the internet intent on finding an answer. We pick up or tablet or phone or open up a browser on our computer and we ask a search engine to guide us as that key decision points occurs. And beyond product reviews, restaurant recommendations, and the rest of the micro-moment decisions, people around the world ask:

  • Does God love me?
  • Who is Jesus?
  • Will I go to heaven?

Being there in those micro-moments also flips the script on Evangelism. Instead of being a nuisance, the digital evangelist answers the actual questions a person has in the moment when she or he really wants guidance.

This is the rationale behind a resolution I am proposing to the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Together with Steve Pankey of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast and Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale of the Diocese of Indianapolis, we call on our church to target existing communication budget dollars to create significant pieces of infrastructure that will allow an existing proof-of-concept experiment to move from beta test to full-scale launch with relative ease. Find out all about it here: Conducting an Online Digital Evangelism Test, but a few key points are that for this to work, the Episcopal Church must:

  • Develop quality editorial content to answer real life questions in the moment.
  • Fund advertising to attract and build an online audience.
  • Build capacity to connect people asking questions online to local ministries.

Fortunately, for our church, the Rev. Jake Dell, Manager, Digital Marketing and Advertising Sales for the Episcopal Church is already well down the road on what we need. He has proven the concept works and has a handle on next steps. This resolution is designed to build on the previous work by taking the program to the next level. And best of all, no new budget dollars are needed.

Yet that is not what excites me. Let me be clear. The Incarnation is not virtual reality. The goal here is far from virtual. This program will move from real life problems, through guidance proven through centuries of Christian history, to connecting people people seeking answers to communities where questions are valued. The end goal is not building up the Episcopal Church, but connecting a lost and hurting world to the love of God as found in Jesus. Not being out there on the digital frontier is irresponsible. I am pleased to offer this resolution to support the good work already underway at the churchwide level.

The resolution is online here: D019 Conducting an Online Digital Evangelism Test

The Rev. Canon Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary
Episcopal Diocese of Georgia


Posted in Jetsam

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