5 Books That Changed My Perspective on Digital Ministry
What I've Been Reading in Q1 2023
The world of digital ministry is continuously evolving, and it's vital for churches and organizations to keep up with the changes to ensure effective and meaningful connections with their communities. In the first quarter of 2023, I dove into five books that have not only reshaped my understanding of digital ministry but also inspired me to think differently about how we build and maintain our online communities. Here's a concise overview of these five books and why they should be on your reading list.
My Top Pick: How to Handle a Crowd: The Art of Creating Healthy and Dynamic Online Communities - Anika Gupta
Summary: Anika Gupta provides an in-depth exploration of online community management, offering insights and best practices for moderation and fostering healthy digital spaces.
"People do fascinating things to get around and through the restrictions and limitations of the software they use, sometimes transforming its original or intended purpose in order to better suit a social need."
- Anika Gupta, How To Handle a Crowd
My Insights: How to Handle a Crowd is an incredible book that provides a clear and insightful look at online community management. With numerous examples and a deep exploration of moderation, this book is a must-read for anyone wanting to ensure the safety and health of their digital church.
The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging - Charles H. Vogl
Summary: In this book, Charles H. Vogl presents the seven principles that are essential for building and maintaining a community, regardless of its context.
My Insights: The Art of Community unravels the intricacies of building a community and lays out seven principles that are essential for fostering a sense of belonging. While not specifically about digital ministry, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the neurological need for community. By intertwining familiar concepts, Vogl presents a comprehensive guide to attracting and retaining people within a community.
The Connected Church: A Social Media Communication Strategy Guide for Churches, Nonprofits, and Individuals in Ministry - Natchi Lazarus
Summary: Natchi Lazarus offers a foundation for building communication strategies in today's digital age, focusing on social media as a key tool for churches, nonprofits, and individuals in ministry.
My Insights: The Connected Church is a fantastic primer for digital ministry that lays a solid foundation for communication strategies in today's digital age. While it's better suited for hybrid ministry, the book offers valuable insights for engaging online audiences, making it a valuable addition to your library.
Sex, Tech, and Faith: Ethics for a Digital Age - Kate Ott
Summary: Kate Ott delves into the intersection of technology, sexuality, and faith, encouraging readers to develop their own digital sexual ethics.
My Insights: Sex, Tech, and Faith is more of a theology book than a practical guide. It focuses on building a personal digital sexual ethic rather than its implementation in digital spaces. Nonetheless, it's an excellent read for youth ministers grappling with the evolving sexual ethics of younger generations.
Visiting Online Church: A Journey Exploring Effective Digital Christian Community - Peter DeHaan
Summary: Peter DeHaan shares his journey visiting various online churches, offering practical takeaways and insights for creating effective digital Christian communities.
My Insights: Visiting Online Church captivated me with its unique format, offering practical takeaways in each entry. The book emphasizes the importance of reframing traditional approaches to engage online audiences more effectively. While it's more helpful for hybrid ministry, the insights provided are valuable for all digital ministers.
These five books have opened my eyes to the possibilities and challenges of digital ministry. By exploring various aspects of community building, communication strategies, ethics, moderation, and reframing traditional approaches, these books serve as valuable resources for anyone involved in digital ministry. So, if you're looking to expand your understanding and improve your online community, be sure to give these books a read!
If you’d like to keep up with what I’m reading, be sure to give me a follow over on Goodreads.
World 1-5 Complete
In closing, I hope that you were able to add at least one new addition to your TBR list. I enjoyed putting this list together. One of the most important things that we can do in digital ministry is the holy art of curation. In a consumer-centric culture, the practice of consuming things intentionally and then pointing others toward them tactfully is vital.
In a way, this is an acknowledgment of power. Compared to Mr. Beast, I may not have much sway over the general public, but I need to hold the trusted crowd that I have gathered with much care and respect. That is my goal with curation and I will plan to break down this understanding further in a later blog. I would encourage the reader to consider this factor for themselves and ask who we are reaching and why.
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To close, here are some engagement questions:
Which of these books do you plan to add to your list?
What is a book you’re reading currently we should know about?
Any questions you have for me or Pixel & Pulpit?