Faith Identity Formation on Social Media

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Looking for a way to deepen people’s understanding of what it means to be a religious community, as well as increase commitment? This may be just the right project for you!

  1. Create an Instagram account for your congregation. Make sure the name you choose represents your congregation well. (Same with Facebook and Twitter.)
  2. Look at either your mission statement or covenant. Which has the most juice or spark for visual embodiment? Go there.  One congregation I work with has is using  “We are…” with the hashtag #WeAre.  They have a list of aspirational aspects of who their congregation is.  It works great for this project.  Another congregation is using “We commit to:” with the hashtag #WeCommitTo.  Their list includes chalice points (formerly bullet points) of their covenant.
  3. Invite congregants to take pictures of those chalice points in action using the specific chalice point as a caption. (Yes, this is faith formation and identity formation — I’m sneaky like that.)
  4. Turn this into a multigenerational activity by pairing people who are well versed in smart phone photo taking and social media with folks who are wondering what social media is. This activity could be an all-congregation scavenger hunt.
  5. Invite people to post pictures with hashtags and captions to Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter.  If they do not have accounts, have them send pictures with captions to a point person.
  6. Identify a point person who is comfortable with social media to coordinate the effort. As per Instagram etiquette and solid social media strategy, spread those pictures out over time, no more than one a day.
  7. Create a movie with all the pictures, cohorting the common captions together. Show it at your stewardship celebration, show it at your end of the year celebration or ingathering, and post on your social media accounts — this is what we create all together!

A note about photo permission and etiquette: Always ask permission to take and use someone’s photo.  For folks under age 18, ask their parents first, then the child or youth.  The UUA has photo release/permission policies I recommend.  For community members under the age of 18, many religious education enrollment forms include a section like this:

I realize that any photos taken of my child during THE EVENT become property of the UUA and may be used in UUA materials. I realize there will be no compensation for the use of these photos. (If you do not want your child’s photo used in UUA materials – meaning that they will NOT be allowed to appear in group photos and will NOT be allowed to have photos taken of them – then initial here. __________)

Some people cannot be featured on social media for very good reasons.  Please be extra careful to honor this. It’s the loving thing to do.

If you really get into Instagram, here are more great ways to use Instagram as a congregation.

Please send me your movie, if you’d like me to post it here for others to enjoy!