I wrote this weekend about the strong reaction many in my UU social media network had to Sunday services that did not create space to process the Trayvon Martin – George Zimmerman verdict from the night before. Many were let down, disappointed, upset.
In the day since I’ve been reflecting on how that reaction was shaped by social media, a culture I believe is changing expectations many have of congregations.
On Saturday, because I’m networked to hundreds of Unitarian Universalists and thousands of others online via Facebook and Twitter, I could clearly see the swell of emotion building up to and in response to the verdict. It was clear, if you were tuning in, that this was a special moment, a moment that would drive people to church with many seeking a pastoral message. But not all worship leaders new this.
7 years ago the verdict would have been announced and we would have waited to discuss it in person over the coming week. But now, there were immediate online conversations, people were able to cry via global twitter streams, vent rage, demand justice and release emotions that only amplify the need for ministry.
What a different world…
Back to the verdict and reaction. I’m feeling like this is more of a social media lesson than anything else. Those who are active via social media have the tools to better gauge in real time when national / word events require an immediate pastoral response. If you tune in, that’s a powerful advantage for your ministry team. If you don’t??? Then there are moments like Sunday when people show up assuming you know… You know their pain, their sorrow and they judge based on those assumptions.
Does that social media driven shift in expectations make sense? I’m still trying to process it myself. What do you think?