Last weekend was Annual Conference for Pacific Northwest United Methodists. It felt like a homecoming to sit in a large room with “my people.” Although I have loved and appreciated being at Claremont School of Theology, in large part because it refuses to let me rest on shortcuts, it was refreshing to not be constantly translating my understanding of Christianity or Methodism. Yes, there are places that we have to grow to be the best United Methodists we can be, but this weekend left me hopeful and excited to how we can move forward.
One of the highlights of the conference was the high involvement of Young Adults. We were everywhere! We were heading committees, leading worship giving addresses, running cameras, building labyrinths, and serving in dozens of other instrumental ways. It was so exciting to see how much we have made annual conference our own.
In her excellent Young Person’s address, Emma Donohew’s emphasized the need for our conference utilizing social media. “I know it’s cliché for a young adult to say this, but I will preach the gospel of social networking!” she declared. And she’s right. The future of “first contact” will be online. If someone wants to know what it means to be a Pacific Northwest United Methodist, the internet is the first place that a young adult will look. If we are to be relevant we must be online.
As I sat there I realized that I knew to use social media, but I have only updated my blog once in the past year. My challenge from Emma’s talk is not necessarily to preach the gospel of social networking, but to do it.
So. I am giving myself an accomplishable social networking challenge. 150 blog posts between now and the next convening of annual conference. 3 blog posts a week. And while I can visualize whole months in the future that will be difficult, perhaps this kind of journaling shall be my Wesleyan method for the next year. If I agree wholeheartedly that we should use social media as a form of outreach for the United Methodist Church, it’s time that I take the first step and model that affirmation.
Let's see what happens.
If you want to hear other excellent things that Emma said, here is the entirety of Emma's Address:
(It starts at minute 41)
Blog #1 in Ruth’s Social Networking Gospel Challenge.