Reading the Bible from a common lectionary

Lectionary TwitterEach week many preachers from many Christian denominations discuss the same passages from Scripture. This happens because they all follow a lectionary, a set schedule of readings for each Sunday or holiday in the Christian year.

Most who follow a pattern of readings use the Revised Common Lectionary. It is a three-year cycle that begins with Advent and typically includes four readings for each Sunday.

There is usually a reading from the Book of Psalms, another Old Testament reading, a reading from one of the four Gospels, and another New Testament reading. Preachers and worship leaders following the lectionary may choose one or more of these passages to preach on and/or have read during the service.

I have been tweeting excerpts from each lectionary passage for about five years. For the past couple years, I have also been collecting links to commentary and other web posts related to the upcoming week’s readings.

You can view these links at my Lectionary Reflections page. Typically you will find the most recent postings and commentary on the upcoming week at the top of the page. I will explain a little more about how to use this site in my next post.

Keep Track of Multiple Social Media Accounts

As your church or church agency social media work grows, you may soon find yourself creating multiple profiles on twitter, facebook and other sites. Fortunately there are tools that help you keep track of what is happening across the board.

I initially signed up for TweetDeck. It enabled me to set up multiple columns to track each of my twitter accounts along with the facebook status messages of my friends. However, this morning I upgrade my HootSuite account to version 2.0 and am already excited about it.

HootSuite 2.0 has the multiple column approach for the tweets of those your following, for @replies and for direct messages. While this can be done in TweetDeck as well, HootSuite 2.0 puts your alternate accounts in a separate tab instead of a column. Therefore, I do not have to scroll left to right in order to see all the columns. I only need to click the other tab.

I have yet to mention the original reason I signed up for HootSuite in the first place. HootSuite allows you to send your tweets at a designated time in the future. This is particularly good if you want to handle all your tweets for the day in one sitting, but don’t want them all to appear right in a row. You could even tweet for a future day, say when you are on vacation or spending time with family.

Unfortunately, HootSuite still does not connect with facebook, but I still prefer going straight to fb to see those updates over TweetDeck anyhow. One of TweetDeck’s benefits, though, is it gives you a signal whenever there is a new update on any of your streams. This can help you keep track while you work on something else such as writing your latest blog post.

Nashville Nonprofits Share Social Media Strategy

Social Media ClubTo follow the national trend, Nashville area non-profits are expanding their social media efforts. Last night three local nonprofit organizations presented their work to a gathering of the Social Media Club Nashville. For the club’s second meeting, local social media professionals and volunteers were able to examine how nonprofits use the tools and network with one another.

On the panel were representatives from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Nashville’s Center for Nonprofit Management and the Nashville Zoo. The Center for Nonprofit Management hosted the group and Sam Davidson of Cool People Care moderated the panel.

Currently the Community Foundation is nearing the end of its $1K Twitter Nonprofit Giveaway. For ten weeks, the foundation is giving away $100 a week to a random nonprofit that it received a tweet about that week. One of the top five nonprofits to be tweeted about between July 10 and 31 will receive $1,000.

The Nashville Zoo won the first $100 award. It has two Twitter accounts. One of these is for the persona of Gumu the meerkat. Eventually the zoo hopes to have a storyline for the meerkat to help share its story and the story of the park.

While the local nonprofits are engaging social media, there is still much room for growth. Nevertheless, in coming together we learn of ideas and tools that can lead to improvement.

Christians Follow Friends Online and Off

If you believe in Christ’s call to spread the Good News, are you making friends online and off that stretch beyond Christianity? This is the question that Justin Wise asks over at Church Tweets. Christians engaged in spreading the Gospel message need to be making contacts beyond both the physical and the virtual church.

When ministering to the wider public, one needs to listen to what the public is speaking about. What are their questions? Their concerns? Their hopes? Their fears? In this age of self-revelation online, there is much opportunity to learn about the deep needs, desires and interests of those in our community.

Lately I have enjoyed connecting with people through Digital Nashville and similar groups. I discovered the ability to share ideas back and forth. While I was not explicitly saying to people that they need to have Christ in their lives, I do believe my interaction demonstrated the love and care that Christ showed.

Now we follow each other in various social media arenas. We continue to share ideas back and forth. I believe God is at work in our online social networking. How will you let God use you?

New Media Builds New Connections

Since starting this blog, I have been writing about how the church needs to use the Internet and social media to build its connections. My own web of connections is now growing. For a couple years now I have been on facebook, building up to more than 400 friends. Earlier this year, I joined LinkedIn and discovered the benefits of networking professionally online.

Now it is time to turn to using other tools. In the past week you may have seen me appear in three locations. First was this blog. I have been reading blogs for years and have been posting my thoughts occasionally on facebook. With this blog, I reach out to a wider audience.

Also, I am now the Nashville United Methodist Examiner at Examiner.com. Through that site I will be covering Nashville United Methodism and issues of interest to United Methodists in the Nashville Area. In addition to the local churches and conferences, I cover the United Methodist general agencies located here. Please note that I am a freelance writer and consultant for most of them. Thus, you may see some articles on Examiner.com that I wrote on behalf of the agencies.

Lastly, I am now on twitter. You may follow me at AJSchlei. Even before I joined, I was very familiar with twitter as I maintain my knowledge of the variety of social media tools available. I look forward to having you join me on this journey in social media as we work together to build the church and transform the world through the power of transforming words in the digital world.

Social Media Needed in the Church

On Tuesday I attended a meeting of the Social Media Club of Nashville. It was good to hear from a panel of corporate social media staff sharing how today’s tools enhance the connection between the people, the company and the products and services.

The United Methodist Church proclaims itself to be a connection. To be a connection in the 21st century, the church needs to be utilizing today’s social media tools. Fortunately there has already become a good cadre of individual United Methodist bloggers. These people have already formed a community for sharing thoughts and ideas. However, local churches and church-related agencies have been slow to get into the act.

Fortunately the times may be changing. Cokesbury is using twitter for its Vacation Bible School products; United Methodist Communications has launched 10thousanddoors.org; and the General Board of Discipleship has announce a plan to end its Discipleship Resources printed products in favor of “creative use of the web and other delivery systems.”

I commend the movement and look forward to what is next. How will people be engaged by these tools? Will Methodism again become a movement with ideas and leadership flowing up from the people? Where will new disciples of Christ arise, and what transformation will they bring to the world?