by Nicole Havelka, Minister for Resourcing, Networking and Creativity
Because of teaching online classes, attending videoconference meetings and doing so many other digital ministries, I go to conferences or other wider church events and frequently meet people in person (or in 3-D, as some people say) for the first time after having known them for some time on these online platforms. When I meet them there’s usually the initial awkward beat of recognition as we search our mental databases for just how we know each other. We usually follow that moment of pause with a warm handshake or embrace as we get to know each other in a new way. As we part ways, I’ve sometimes uttered the phrase, “It’s so good to get to know you in ‘real life.’”
But, that phrase just doesn’t work. We already knew each other in ‘real life.’ I’m as ‘real’ on Facebook and videoconference as I am in person. There’s just a different medium creating the connection between myself and other people.
“Real Life” is what we’re all about in the Christmas season; the “realness” of the God who comes in the form of the child Jesus. To help create even more “real life” connections in the Ohio Conference UCC, we launched a “12 Days of Christmas campaign.” We set the goal of having 120 new connections formed through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest in those 12 days. Many of you have already taken up this challenge. Thank you!
We are SO CLOSE to that goal and would LOVE to smash through it! With the links below you can easily like or follow these pages. Maybe you’ll even use this challenge as an excuse to get your first social media account.
People often say these connections are superficial, just an excuse for people to share narcissistic, banal details of their lives. But, in the Christmas season, we are reminded that God is very interested in the details of human life, having become flesh in the Jesus child. I know that when I share a photo of my dinner on Instagram or Facebook, it’s a way to share dinner with friends. Through Facebook and Twitter I can keep up with the friends I’ve made over the years who are scattered throughout the country and the world. When I post an idea or question about ministry, I connect with a whole world of colleagues I could never possibly see in one place in person.
Digital ministry IS incarnation ministry.
So, I invite you to find out for yourself. Build this community with us. Become part of the conversation that helps connect us beyond the four walls of the church and even your local community. I promise we need your gifts, perspectives and ideas in the mix. All you have to do is to follow the links above and like or follow us. It’s that easy to be more connected.
Nicole Havelka serves as the Minister for Resourcing, Networking and Creativity in the Ohio Conference UCC. You can also connect with her through social media: Nicole Havelka and Nicole Havelka Consulting on Facebook, @revnhavelka on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.