The Mother Church
of The Dakotas
517 Douglas Avenue, Yankton, SD 57078
MESSAGE FROM FATHER TIM FOUNTAIN
Like any field, church work produces it’s share of jargon. A word making the rounds right now is engagement. With fewer people coming to Sunday worship services on a regular basis, there is conversation about how to engage people where they are, at home, at work, wherever.
Here are some of my current stabs at engagement: Half Way Church (or, as it is rendered on Twitter, # Half Way Church) is a short summary of my upcoming Sunday sermon, offered live on Facebook around lunchtime every Wednesday. As I say at the start of each one, We’re halfway through your week, and here comes waaaay less than half of a sermon. Is it engaging? Well, the September 19th message about Humility reached 180 people. That’s obviously more than our 10 a.m. service and about 5-times more than one of our typical Facebook posts. So more people are hearing a bit of the Christian message, and hearing an invitation to visit Christ Church. But how that will that translate into actual church life? Too soon to tell. Might not do much more than what it’s done in the first month of effort, but might wind up connecting us to some folks we might otherwise have missed. Do keep the effort in your prayers. Check out the messages at https://www.facebook.com/ChristYankton/ “Like” the page so you get notifications, and share them with your friends.
• Blessing of the Animals is the first Saturday of this month (10/6) at 10 a.m. There’s more about it (with great picture!) in this edition of the newsletter. It’s an effort to engage our neighbors who love their pets, are farmers, or care for God’s creatures in other ways. It also provided opportunity for me to go out and meet folks in the community. I dropped off posters for the event at a local pet shop, veterinary clinics, a coffee house, and HyVee. Got to say hello to some nice neighbors and put our church’s caring presence in their work places. Will folks come? We’ll find out on October 6th. Will folks connect? That’s yet to be revealed. Pray about this event. Invite friends.
• Social Media like Facebook, Twitter and, less often, Instagram are places where I post inspirational verses, pictures, news and other resources to engage people where most of them are at least some part of every day. I’m trying things like tagging the Chamber of Commerce when a sermon topic might cross over into the work force (subjects like Encouragement or Dealing With Disappointment). I’m getting some great help from some of our church members, especially on Facebook and Twitter. I’m hoping to recruit some of our younger members to take up the work on Instagram… they’re much better at that than I can hope to be. Our Twitter following has grown as has our engagement on Facebook posts. But the question remains open: how will it impact our church life?
Jesus compared the work of the church to fishing. And when you fish, there is not a guaranteed catch. Still, like the bumper sticker says, A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work. God just asks us to throw out some lines and let Him handle the rest.
Christ Episcopal Church 517 Douglas Avenue Yankton, SD 57078 605.665.2456