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Lockdown Liturgy Lessons 12

Director of Digital Mission and Ministry

I am proposing that each ministry unit, each parish, have a Director of Digital Mission and Ministry.

Just as we take for granted that there is a secretary, treasurer, wardens, etc., I think we should take for granted that there is a DDMM (Director of Digital Mission and Ministry). If you can come up with a better name and acronym, great. If, at your next synod, or equivalent, you pass this as a requirement into church law, great. Let us know. If you already have such a role, excellent – also let us know.

The DDMM can be the parish priest or minister of your ministry unit. I envision this generally as an unpaid position or as part of the portfolio of a paid church position.

Now that, because of Covid-19, churches have moved into the Third Millennium, we need to bed in this development. Each community needs someone who has the responsibility to see that:

  • All online presence is up to date (if your community is no longer using a particular platform, delete it, or indicate clearly that it is no longer being used with a clickable link to the current online presence)
  • Online presence is easily accessible on computers, laptops, tablets, phones
  • Online presence is user-focused (not too much text; essential information is easily found: location of the church building, times of services, contact information,…)
  • Advertising on different platforms being used is not inappropriate (advertising may be generated by the platform)
  • Emails and messages are replied to within an appropriate time period
  • Social media is understood to be social – there is engagement if social media is being used
  • Inappropriate comments and posts are removed, the posters blocked, etc.
  • the community keeps up with what platforms are popular and useful for church mission and ministry
  • statistics are kept honestly and usefully and present regularly to the church’s council (vestry, etc)

I think a church has learnt little through the lockdown period if a church community DDMM is not appointed. But I want to dream further. I think each diocese or region should have an at-least-half-time, paid DDMM. This diocesan/regional DDMM have the responsibility to see that:

  • church community DDMMs are resourced and ongoing educational occasions for them and interested others are organised
  • best-practice templates are organised, and local churches are encouraged that their websites and social media profiles have a quality and consistency throughout the diocese/region
  • best-practices are researched to keep the church at the forefront of the digital world
  • local church digital presence is overseen – checking on digital presence; this is not a judgmental oversight, it has to be seen to be clearly in a positive, affirming, encouraging spirit
  • statistics are kept honestly and usefully and presented regularly to the church’s council (vestry, etc)

My dream/hope extends wider: that there be a national/provincial, full-time paid position of DDMM. This person would have the responsibility to see that:

  • diocesan/regional DDMMs are resourced and ongoing educational occasions for them and interested others are organised
  • best-practice templates are organised, and dioceses/regions are encouraged to have a quality and consistency throughout the country
  • best-practices are researched to keep the church at the forefront of the digital world
  • statistics are kept honestly and usefully and presented regularly to the Standing Committee of General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui, to General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui (or its equivalent in your church tradition)

What do you think of these ideas? What can you add to my ideas?

Previously:
Lockdown Liturgy Lessons 1 (3 minutes reading time)
Lockdown Liturgy Lessons 2 (5 minutes reading time)
Lockdown Liturgy Lessons 3 (4 minutes reading time)
Lockdown Liturgy Lessons 4 (4 minutes reading time)
Lockdown Liturgy Lessons 5 Teilhard’s Mass on the World (4 minutes reading time)
Lockdown Liturgy Lessons 6 Agape Meal (4 minutes reading time)
Lockdown Liturgy Lessons 7 (6 minutes reading time)
Lockdown Liturgy Lessons 8 (5 minutes reading time)
Lockdown Liturgy Lessons 9 (5 minutes reading time)
Lockdown Liturgy Lessons 10 (5 minutes reading time)
Lockdown Liturgy Lessons 11 (4 minutes reading time)

Some of the other resources and reflections on this site for this Covid19 context:
Exsultet
Holy Saturday in a Covid19 World
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter in a Covid19 World
Coronavirus solitude self-isolation and spirituality
Streaming services, online spiritual resources in coronavirus times
New Zealand Prayer Book Daily Prayer
NZ in lockdown
Covid 19 moves churches into the Third Millennium
Spiritual Communion
Carthusians Covid-19 and Communion
Learning from Hermits in a Covid19 World

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4 thoughts on “Lockdown Liturgy Lessons 12”

  1. Corinna lines

    I have recently taken on a (newly created) communication portfolio on our vestry, because I work as an editor and am pretty keen on plain language and effective communication. But that is not the same as looking after the digital stuff, although they do overlap. At the moment, a wonderful volunteer with graphic design skills looks after our website etc (but has too much to do). I see an overlap between the words and the design/usability of websites and social media, but don’t think you often find both skillsets in one person?

    1. Excellent, Corinna. You may notice that I had some of your points in mind – the DDMM doesn’t do it all, but makes sure that it is all done 🙂 Easter Season Blessings.

  2. DDMMYY! (DDMM – Yes, Yes! – or MMDDYY in some parts of the world 🙂

    I’d love to see some simple-but-good training for people involved in our churches’ online interactions (and with modern technology in general)… and I started making an outline of a possible course for Theology House to give, but didn’t take it further. There is a need for all sorts of skills, including understanding privacy and search engines at least as much as using specific software tools that drift in and out of fashion. Probably, realistically, not every parish or ministry unit or church group that needs some technology skills will have the people that can help them within their immediate midst – so perhaps teams of experts within a diocese or archdeaconry area could be set up? I had an idea years back of using recycled cheap computers running Linux in a way that hardware support and software support could be made very simple (no reliance on local disks – simply “swap a box” when things go wrong, and standarised software), so support volunteers can problems quickly because they don’t have to spend ages coming to grips with each individual situation first. As time has gone by the need for this has only increased, I feel.

    But with Covid there are new problems for the Church in general, and these “Lockdown Liturgy Lessons” are valuable. Even so, there remains a gap in all our dealing with today’s basic misunderstandings and manipulative misinformation flowing from Social Media sources. A gap that could easily be sorted out with some simple “Scriptural Survival Skills” (such as to be wary of arguments based on the same Psalm 91 that Satan used when trying to tempt Jesus in the wilderness!)… a good, interactive, online presence might be just what is required to get some good dialogue going between quiet-but-loving congregations and those who dismiss virus risks and responsibilities because their only sources of information repeat out-of-context views of Scripture and what it means to be Church.

    1. Agreed, Mark. I think that church people are following the steep online learning curve on Covid lockdowns; BUT a lot/many/most are then reverting to 20th and 19th century ways of being church when the wave passes. Maybe we are missing one of the lessons God is teaching us in these days… Blessings.

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