According to the author, nearly every non-practicing
Catholic in the United States is likely connected with at least one
engaged Catholic — and is perhaps only one “retweet” or “like” away. “My
goal is to inspire all parishes and parishioners to use new media as a
central tool of evangelization,” he says.
Many Catholics are more comfortable sharing their faith
online than in person, but likely need pointers and encouragement to be
most effective. Transforming Parish Communications gives
readers — from pastors, to parish leaders, to lay Catholics — the
rationale, tools and motivation to reach out using social media, such as
Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Catholics can become “digital
missionaries,” with the ability to relate the Gospel to people in the
next cubicle, next town, or across the world,"
then discovered Scot Landry's video introducing himself and providing a
background on his book,
There has been a significant exodus of baptized Catholics from the church
adults for a variety of reasons. But one of the most significant may be best
expressed by Strother Martin (as a
in the film Cool Hand Luke.
Transforming Parish Communications provides dioceses. parishes,
and parishioners - especially youth and young adult ministries
- with some of the tools to more effectively communicate with younger
parishioners and help reverse this trend as well as evangelize new
"Scot Landry is to be complimented on this most timely and useful
publication. He both reminds us why the Church needs to be present in
the ‘new continent’ of social media and tells us how to make our
presence effective. He shows us how the traditional welcome offered by
our parishes to those who come searching for a ‘home’, where they may
find mercy and healing, hope and meaning, can be extended to far more
people if we are attentive to participate in the conversations and
dialogue that are emerging across new media platforms.
Scot’s great achievement is in offering very concrete suggestions as to
how individual Catholics and parish communities can take their first
steps into the digital space. His suggestions are eminently practical
and serve to remove some of the fear factors that may inhibit parish
initiatives. He puts us on our way and encourages us to be ‘thoughtful
practitioners’ who learn from doing. As we become more at home as
‘citizens’ of the networks, we will be better able to evaluate how
effective we are in listening to, conversing with, encouraging and,
ultimately, bringing to meet Christ those we encounter in this
environment. If we share our learning with one another in the Church, we
can grow together and share the Good News of God’s love with all those
men and women for whom social media are an essential dimension of their
Scot has very generously shared with us his accumulated learning and
experience in working with new media in the mission of the Church. His
enthusiasm and competence make him a great guide and companion for those
who are venturing into this arena; his great familiarity with the area
and the thoroughness of his presentation ensure he has much to offer to
those who are already engaged."
the titles of the chapters with a few of the several summery points for
1. Reaching The Lost
The majority of Catholics today in the United States are
"lost" from the church to some extent (infrequent, inactive, or
Social media can be a game changer for the Church. Those who
are "lost" are likely connected on Social Media with Catholics
who are engaged.
2. Encountering Christ In the New Media
New media is a place where so many people
spend significant portions of their time - and if we're going to
meet them, we have to be willing to meet them where they are.
Through our presence on new media, the Church
can reach people who would ordinarily not hear the Gospel.
3. Overcoming Fears and Obstacles
Overall, the Church has been hesitant to
embrace the new media....Part of the slow response might be
resistance to change in general, where parishes believe they
lack the expertise, time, money and energy, motivation and
compelling rational to do this well,,,.
The biggest reason, however, that the new
media has not been adopted fully at many parishes.
Evangelization (reaching the lost, inviting them to become
growing disciples in a community) is not acted upon as the top
priority and central mission of the parish because parishes are
in maintenance mode (or survival mode) and because many
parishioners act as "demanding consumers," instead of
4. Parishes: Animating Hubs for Catholic New Media
Unfortunately, many parishes and parishioners
today only spend a minimal amount of their time on the task of
evangelization. With 70 percent or more of Catholics not coming
to church and many unchurched, atheists, and agnostics in our
communities, there are many people we can be reaching with
invitations to join us in conversation and community.
5. Launching a New Media Outreach Initiative
A team (commission) provides the
human resources necessary to carry on a large initiative
and to reach the entire parish. A newly formed
commission signals that this is a significant priority
and the beginning of a new effort. It also allows for
creativity and innovation, as well as the opportunity to
involve new leaders within the parish.
Select an initiative and commission
name that is straight forward (and easy to remember) so
that everyone naturally understands what its work is
about and is easy to remember.
6. A Consistent Digital Identity
Consistency in your name across various new
media makes your parish easier to find and easier for your
message to get through the clutter of a noisy work.
Select a name that will be intuitive and easy
to remember for all in your parish community. A combination of
your parish name and town (e.g.,SaintBernadetteFallRiver.com) or
a combination of town name and Catholic (e.g.,LexingtonCatholic.org)
are two recommended approaches.
7. A Website: The Parish's Virtual Front Door
Parishes need to be wise to set a
goal and select tactics that encourage parishioners to
visit the parish website for new content at least a
couple of times during the workweek, if not daily.
The Church would be strengthened if
all parishes were to set a high bar for their digital
presence, annually evaluated their efforts against the
parishes nominated and selected by parish website
contests, and committed to a path of continuous
8. Blogs: Integrating Communications
Blogs are discussions or informational sites
published on the Internet in separate entries, articles, and
posts.,,,Blogs can be an effective way of beginning a
conversation with someone who is lost and away from the Church.
Parishes can start a blog to focus online
efforts, drive traffic to the website, make it easier to share
parish information on the website and through social media,
integrate video and other forms of media on the website,
and encourage reflection and dialogue in the comments section.
9, Email. Twitter, Facebook: Sharing and Dialogue
The tools of social media have developed
significantly over the past several years and will continue to
evolve. The principle, however, of using digital tools to
direct traffic to your home base will remain.
The main obstacle to embracing these will
never be money, just time. these tools are straightforward and
quick to learn, particularly with the tools available on line....
10. Electronic Giving and the Parish Mission
Electronic giving (e-giving) has many
benefits for parishes and parishioners. it is a critical service
that should be integrated into the parish website. The e-giving
option is consistent with a news media approach to growing
discipleship and stewardship.
Establishing an e-giving program gets the
parish halfway to the goal. The other major element is ongoing
promotion of the program by launching it in a big way,
recognizing the growth and eventually asking parishioners to
give it a try. Communicate that there is a preferred
method from the perspective of the parish to provide financial
Like Moses, Scot Landry has given us the ten commandments ofmore effective communicationand evangelization.
Transforming Parish Communication is a
treasure chest of information and resources
that have the potential ofreversing the continued
loss of current Catholics and introducing others to the love of Christ and
the message of the Gospels.