Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Multi-Platform Evangelism Moment

by Susan Russell

“Multi-platform convergence” was a term I learned from Dr. Elizabeth Drescher – author of “Tweet if You ‘Heart’ Jesus.” (A great read if you haven’t seen it yet.) In a nutshell, it’s about utilizing multiple platforms of communication – print, digital, social media, twitter, facebook, YouTube … and don’t forget incarnational … for evangelism. Here’s an example.

It’s Pride Month everywhere and L.A. Pride Week here in Los Angeles. We (the Diocese of L.A.) will have a booth at the festival. One of our bishops (+Mary Douglas Glasspool) will preach at the street Eucharist we hold every year with our Lutheran colleagues (their Bishop Nelson will celebrate) and I was asked to come up with answers to 10 FAQs for the folks staffing the booth.

"Is being gay a sin? What did Jesus say about gay people? Should you try to pray away the gay?" Just three of the "Qs" that ended up in my "Top Ten. Now here comes the multi-platform part. I turned the Q&A sheet into a blog piece for the Huffington Post. It went live about this morning. So far there are 512 likes, 188 shares, 57 retweets, and 65 comments.

Among the fiirst comments? “I think I just became an Episcopalian.”


We are surrounded by an enormous market share of folks starving for the Good News of God’s inclusive love – and the folks reading, recommending, sharing and commenting on this one little post is the tip of the iceberg. Huffington Post readers are arguably a mission field for the Episcopal Church but it is not the only one.

So here comes my evangelism pitch: As we move toward General Convention and the work and witness we will do together there let’s not for a MOMENT forget the missional moments we will have to stand up, speak out and reach out to those hungry for what this Church we love – in spite of all its warts and wobbles – has to offer. (Cue music. “Ora labora” swells in the background.)

Let’s make sure we don’t get so focused on the “trees” of structure, budget, canons and polity that we lose sight of the “forest” full of those yearning to be part of a spiritual community, to hear that God loves them and to use their gifts to meet the world’s deep needs.

So go check out my "Top Ten" list. Send it to your friends. Post it to your Facebook page. Brag a little on the Episcopal Church. Invite others to come and see what you've found that feeds you, supports you, empowers you, equips you. Let's make this Pride Month a Multiplatform Evangelism Month!

The Reverend Canon Susan Russell is a Senior Associate at All Saints Church in Pasadena, the chair of the Program Group for LGBT Ministry in the Diocese of Los Angeles and an Integrity Past-President.

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