I had the opportunity to participate for a few days in last week’s NCCL conference. I’m not a catechetical leader, but they were nice enough to let me in anyways! The focus of the conference wasn’t on technology, but I was excited to see a significant technical component to conference. Interestingly, I was both surprised and impressed as to how well the technology sessions were received. On the second day, one of Catholic Tech Talk’s contributing authors, Jonathan Sullivan from the diocese of Springfield, IL gave a presentation on Embracing New Methods. This was right after John Roberto’s presentation on church trends which talked quite a bit on the rise of the Internet and its generational effects. John has some fabulous presentations on trends within the church on his site and his presentations including the one from NCCL can be found here. Both John and Jonathan did a great job of highlighting both the the challenges and opportunities Social Media and the Internet present us. The next generation of parishioners are indeed growing up online and they both gave a great call to action for churches to begin to ‘embrace new methods’.
There presentations were an interesting juxtaposition to Martha Fernandez-Sardina’s intro presentation on the call to Embrace the Message. I’ve never heard Martha speak before but found her rather inspiring. I really enjoyed the fact that she was paired with two technology focused presentations and truly hope her message wasn’t lost. In the tech world, we run the risk of getting too enamored with the technology. We need to always remember that technology is just a tool and Social Media merely a communication medium. Facebook’s IPO, Google+ cool new features, Apple’s new retina display, along with the latest must-have app on your iPhone or Android all pale in comparison to the message being conveyed.
Does your church need a Social Media strategy? The answer to that is ‘yes’, but only after you have a parishioner engagement strategy and a way to communicate your message. That’s what I took away from the NCCL Conference and their “Embrace the Message, Faith, and New Methods!” presentations.
Well done NCCL!