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Friday, July 18, 2014

Inspired Mobility: An Interview With Pastor & 1st Lady Coney

*This is a sponsored post*

In my introductory post (here) I got a chance to discuss the launch of the inspired mobility campaign recently created by AT&T. I have been given the opportunity (along with several others) to explore the topic of social media and the church. Personally I understand the power of social media and the reach that it can have and how it can be an intricate part of a church. When it comes to church many people may think how can social media/technology play a part in our worship services or better yet is it even necessary or that important. In my own experience, I feel that it plays a major role in helping a church reach a generation that otherwise may not be reached if it weren’t for social media sites such as facebook.   

This week I had the honor of interviewing Pastor LeAndre Coney and his lovely wife Porscha Coney on this very topic. They are both the pastors of Transitions Christian Center (TCC) located in Cincinnati, Ohio. With a congregation of different age groups and people from different walks of life they both had an interesting take on social media. Part way through the interview they got a chance to view the “Inspired Mobility:  Bridging the Gap Between Faith and Technology” video. In this video Pastor Bryan Carter of the Concord Church shares his thoughts on this movement. Read their personal thoughts on the subject and see what they had to say about the video below……

Inspired Mobility Interview

Me: First of all I would like to take the time to thank you both for agreeing to do this interview for AT&T’s Inspired Mobility Campaign.

Pastor & First Lady: Thank you for thinking of us!

Me: How do you both feel that social media (technology) has changed the world?

Pastor Coney: I believe that it has changed the world because it allows us to connect with people that we wouldn’t normally be able to connect with. For example I have friends in Kenya that I can actually connect with through facebook and at one time twitter when I was on there. Social media allows us to connect with people beyond just our normal city, our normal borders. Technology and social media are awesome.

First Lady: It allows us to connect with our classmates to be able to plan events like a class reunion. If social media didn’t exist I don’t know how we would be able to do some of the things that we are doing.

Me: Do you feel like you have a congregation that is excepting of the social media movement?

First Lady: Definitely! The majority of our congregation is in their early 20s-30’s. If social media/technology didn’t exist, most of them wouldn’t even be here. Technology is needed and it is what draws them and keeps them attentive.

Pastor Coney: I agree. We have a young congregation and most of them use their Iphones or Galaxy’s for the bible. We encourage them to take selfies at church and put them on facebook. I think technology is key with our congregation. We have people that have joined our church based on the posts that we have put on our facebook page. Some people had no clue who we were but were able to connect with us through there.  

Me: That leads me to my next question, after watching the video on “Bridging the Gap Between Faith and Technology”, what are your thoughts on social media being connected to the church?

Pastor Coney: I think that social media is key to the church. We are in a day and age where people are leaving the church or they are disconnected from the church. I have a thing where I accept all friend requests because I want to reach as many non-believers as I can on my page. People who don’t come to the church can still connect with me in that way.

First Lady: After watching the video, it made me feel like we could do so much more with technology. I love being able to check your children in and being able to be paperless, digital. Also the option of being able to give online would be great. There is so much that we could do!

Me: Jason Caston did an article for AT&T (here) sharing some do’s and don’ts when it comes to technology and social media in the church. Can you tell what are some do’s and don’ts that are important to take in consideration when it comes to technology/social media in your church?

Pastor Coney: I for one encourage people to have their Ipads at church. Do take a snippet of the word that is being given and post it on social media while it is still fresh on your mind. But don’t allow yourself to get so caught up in technology that you don’t become personal anymore. Don’t allow yourself to get so caught up that you don’t have that touch of a person. Here we have the “Seven Touch Rule”. We want people to have their hand shook and feel that personal touch once they hit the door before they even take their seat. I don’t want us to be so wrapped up in technology that people come in and we don’t even recognize that they are there. It’s important to not let it replace the personal touch.

First Lady: A do that is important to me is making sure that we are posting things that are going on at the church on facebook. It’s a great place to share announcements. Also I think it’s important that we don’t forget to bring our actual bible’s to church sometimes. There is nothing like hearing the pages flip through an actual bible. What if your phone dies or if it is acting up? It is good to have a real bible at hand. As far as live streaming, I like it, but I don’t think it should be done all of the time. I feel like it takes away from actually being in the presence of God. It takes away from the actual experience of church. I do think it’s awesome though.

Pastor Coney: I don’t personal like streaming. I feel like we will do it because that’s what churches do. It has been statistics done showing that when churches began to stream, that is when attendance can start to go down because people think, well I will just stay at home today. I think it can hinder the actual growth of a church. There is no one that they can actually connect with at home. I also don’t feel like we should get so caught up on social media that it takes precedence over our sanctuaries.  I think you can be so caught up into technology that you miss connecting with the people. It’s all about connecting with others.

First Lady: It becomes a production rather than a movement, an encounter. It’s kind of like going to the movies and getting your drink and popcorn so you can watch the show. Instead you should be apart of it. A downfall when it comes to social media is it allows you to get only so close without being an actual part of it.

Me: Lastly I know we touched on a little bit of this earlier, but what are some ways that you would like to incorporate more technology/social media here at TCC?  

Pastor Coney: I actually looked into a kid check in program online. Our head pastors have that system at their church and as we grow more and more, we think that it would be great to incorporate that system here.

First Lady: It makes it easier and less of a hassle to check kids in that way.

Pastor Coney: I would even like to have mobile giving available. We have different people that work on Sunday’s but they still have the desire to give and having that would allow them to do that. I’ve even looked into having a kiosk put in the church so that people can give that way. Overall I think it is important that social media and technology be an intricate part of our service, but not the focus of it. It should be so intertwined in a way that everyone everywhere is a part of it.

First Lady: I want it to be easy for people to get the gospel any way that they can!

Me: Once again I want to thank you for taking that time to share your thoughts on this important topic. God bless you both!

Thank you AT&T, Laurice Shelven, and L Michelle Smith for this opportunity!!



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