This wonderful term “New Media” – what do we do with it? The world around us is changing. And as this world changes, we need to begin to explore who we will bring on board to assist us in our parishes and dioceses so that we can integrate these wonderful digital tools into evangelization, catechesis, and communication ministries.
I’d like to introduce you to Thomas Sanjurjo, who recently joined the team/staff at Nativity Catholic Church in Brandon, Florida. What is important to note, is that he is their first Electronic Outreach Director. I met him recently at a Sunday liturgy. After Mass we chatted in the parish hall over coffee. I left the conversation with Tom with a sense that this parish portrays a model of what it means to be an emerging 21st Century Parish.
Why is he important to this parish? We are now in the midst of an ever evolving Digital Culture that has its own language and tools. Many of us often feel that we are strangers on the edge observing a world that is both exciting and terrifying.
If I were a missionary in a foreign land, initially I would feel intimidated by not knowing the new language or culture. Even though I would desire to share the Gospel with others, they would not understand me. I might possibly offend them, not knowing how important it is to only shake hands at our first meeting instead of giving a warm hug.
Missionaries today are trained in both the language and culture of the country and people they will serve. By the time they arrive in their new and foreign land, they already speak the language and know the fine points of what is acceptable or not in the culture.
So, if we stop to think about the Digital Culture surrounding us. It is a new language and a new culture! Who is teaching us the language and the ways of this ever evolving culture?
Yes, a professional like an Electronic Outreach Director will not only do ministry via the parish website, Facebook page and more, he/she will also be responsible for training the staff and even parishioners. After all this Digital Culture affects all of us! This parish now has an in residence mentor whose job it is to be involved in electronic outreach.
Tom’s description offers an excellent model of a 21st Century minister who is focused on being a Digital Disciple. He is to be a catalyst in his parish to bring others onboard with being 21st Century ministers and parishioners. He shared this model of what he is currently doing in the parish:
Yes, he will be responsible for the daily feeds and updates of the parish FaceBook page, developing and coordinating the parish blog, uploading the Sunday homily to Sunday Mass Podcast, and training his staff and parishioners, and more. His ministry is just beginning. It will be a delight to hear more about his ministry in the future.
I’m sure that there are other positions being created at the parish or diocesan level. If you are aware of these new positions, I invite you take a moment to introduce us to the new position and who is serving in this role. Let’s share in how we are becoming a 21st Century church!
Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny