Twitter and Ministry

I have been using Twitter for several years now.  I find it a very interesting form of communication and I have some wonderful people that I follow and that follow me and my daily “tweets.”  But what about using Twitter, or any Social Media for that matter, in ministry?  I believe it is an essential part of the job.
Yesterday someone responding to a post of mine on Facebook mentioned that he was recently at a conference sitting at a table with a few Orthodox priests.  He was checking in on Facebook when one of the priests remarked that he should stop using Social Media because there was too much influence of the devil on Social Media.  I wonder if this group of priests said that same thing about radio or television when that first came about?  What a backward way of thinking.
Social Media of one form or another is here to stay.  It is the language and “hang out spot” of the wired generation.  They are getting their messages, and learning about the faith on all forms of social media.  They are interacting with their friends and involved in all sorts of conversations.  If the Orthodox hope to influence that generation, then we need to be there with our timeless message of the love of God.  If you do not know what that means then you need to expand your reading.
The other day and article appeared in the New York Timesabout religious power houses using Twitter.  Name such as Joyce Meyers, Joel Olsten, and Max Lucado were mentioned as those using Twitter.  In a survey of “tweets” a study has shown that messages of God’s love and hope from religious leaders perform up to 30 times better than those of Lady Gaga and other celebrities.  People in the “Twitterverse” are hungry for the message and they need to hear it.
15% of adult internet users are part of the Twitter community and about half of that number use the service every day.  That is a tremendous amount of people, in one place, who need to hear the message of the Gospel.  We can reach more people with one 140 character message then we can ever hope to reach standing in our pulpits on Sunday.
There is something to be said about personal involvement and ministry but I have to ask, when Jesus spoke, and when he fed the 5,000 how many of those people to you think he actually met? Bishop Fulton Sheen would be another example.  Bishop Sheen was a pioneer in the use of media, namely television, in his ministry.  His program was watched by hundreds of thousands when it ran, how many of those people did he actually meet?  The message is what is important.
Sometimes I think we Orthodox have a fear of what is new.  We Orthodox need to understand, and use, all forms of media to get our message out.  We cannot just simply open the doors of our churches and hope people come in.  We have message, we have “THE” message if you will and we just need to get the word out. (As a side note, I am constantly amazed by the number of churches that do not even have a web page or one that is so outdated it might as well not exist.  This is basic outreach!)
As an example, Ancient Faith Radio receives 3,000 – to 3,500 unique visitors to their site each day.  That means that each time someone visits the AFR site they are counted, but only counted one time each day.  That is more than 1.2 million in one year, more than the entire population of Orthodox in the USA on one site, in one year!  That’s getting the message out!
I often hear my fellow clergy say they do not have time to use the Social Media.  I am in the process of the reading Deacon Michael Hyatt’s new book called Platform.  The book is about branding yourself and your message.  Something we Orthodox need to learn as well but that is for another post.  In the chapter on the use of Twitter Deacon Michael writes that he spends about 30 minutes a day posting and responding to posts on Twitter.  And this is a guy with more than 126 thousand Twitter followers.  It does not take long.
Anyone who knows me knows that Social Media is a major part of my ministry.  I am a self-proclaimed Facebook Evangelist.  If I had to guess I would say that I spend an average of three hours per day on Twitter and Facebook.  I know of three people who have become Orthodox because of posts I have made or conversations that I have had with them on the Social Media.  Three people have become Orthodox because of Facebook!  That’s more than many of our churches have had in a long time.  I think my time is well spent.
I am not saying that every Orthodox priest and lay person needs to spend that amount of time on Facebook and Twitter, but there are many who can.
St. Nikolai Velimerovich said, “We must be super-conservative in preserving the orthodox faith, and super-modern in propagating it.”  We have to use all the tools that are available to us to propagate the message of Orthodoxy to the world.  We need not fear the so called “new” media we need to embrace it and use it as a tool for good.
What is holding you back from evangelizing on Social Media?


  1. If it wasn't your comment, on Facebook, "Come and See," during Lent almost two years ago, Father Peter, I probably would have been too shy or uninformed to find and visit our church. Because of your online conversations, I came to St. Michael's Orthodox Church, in Southbridge, MA for the first time. This was one step of many. In this way, God used social media to draw me closer to Him. Social media was the catalist, directing my path to Orthodoxy. Based on your online invitation and presence on Facebook and Twitter, Father, my life has changed for the good.

    On December 18, 2011, I was chrismated into the Church Victorious, our glorious Orthodox Church! I have never looked back.

    My journey into Orthodoxy has been a joyous one, full of mystery, trial and difficulty, change, history, learning, experiencing, many tears, lots of laughter, beauty and the glory only God can give! Social media plays a big part in all of this.

    I am thankful for my journey into Orthodoxy. I am thankful for the impact social media and your online ministry has had on my journey, Father.

  2. I am not any kind of leader or anything, but I, too, look at Facebook as a mission field, and my time there as a ministry. I’ve seen God do some really neat things via connections made thru facebook. 🙂


Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!