As we continue to pray for the continued relief efforts in Haiti, we all struggle with how we go about our work and ministry attuned to the immediate and long term needs both close at home and around the world.  So much seems inconsequential these days in the face of such tragedy, yet even those things that may not have the same kind of urgent need must me nurtured in order to provide long term support and community.

As we have been talking about a great deal during my term, technology continues to be a hotbed of conversation for the life of the church both in terms of disaster response as well as everyday church life.  For us Presbyterians, we have the additional challenge of figuring out how all of this impacts our polity and governance.  I received an inquiry last week about such a dilemma and figure I would toss it out to the community. 

From a David Picket who is serving in Donegal Presbytery:

This past fall, I attended our presbytery’s sexual misconduct prevention seminar (required for us every three years). One of the more
interesting topics of debate arose as a pastor shared his concern over
the prevalence of communication via facebook among the youth in his
church. It turns out that many in the room were concerned about what
they were hearing about new means of connecting and communicating. One
youth director said that she wouldn’t be able to communicate
effectively without facebook, while most of the group admitted that
they didn’t have any social media accounts. Clearly, some were scared
that facebook leads to hooking up and sexting, and wanted to know where
to draw the line.

A couple of months later, I received an
invitation to help the presbytery set up guidelines and best practices
for social media, to be incorporated into our next sexual misconduct
prevention seminar in the Spring. I’m no expert, but I guess I’m ahead
of the curve as far as our presbytery is concerned, so I agreed.

My
first move was to post a request for info and resources on my twitter
and facebook accounts. I received some helpful materials, but they are
specific to educational institutions. I don’t have any resources with
churches in mind, and don’t know if they exist, but I have a feeling
that somewhere, someone has laid some groundwork for this. So if you’re
aware of anything at all, it would probably help all of our
presbyteries to step into the 21st century and be proactive about using
social media in the church context.

You can contact me: email | twitter | facebook

So . . . any of you further ahead of the game here?  Thoughts, ideas, musings?  Feel free to contact David directly, but would really love to know what you think here.

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