New Media Project

At the New Media Project we think religious leaders need more than primers in building websites and using social media. We believe that leaders of faith communities also need a larger interpretive framework for recognizing and evaluating the massive shift in communication patterns and tools from print to digital. Even though this shift will have a lasting effect on the church, compelling theological interpretations of it have not yet been adequately developed. Nor do sufficient strategic frameworks yet exist to help faith communities move forward using technology in theologically responsible ways. In short, we want to help religious leaders be theologically savvy about technology.

The New Media Project is a research project involving six research fellows who are conducting case studies; interviewing experts in social media, congregational ministry, theology, and journalism; collecting and sharing research online; and commenting on it regularly via blog posts. The project is generously supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment. The New Media Project has recently joined the Center for Pastoral Excellence at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis where it will continue into a second phase of project.

Our purpose is to help the church interpret theologically the massive changes in communication and technology occurring today, and to create a constructive framework to help pastors and religious leaders employ new digital media in ways that strengthen faith communities. Read the blog posts for more of our hunches and ideas about all of this.

 

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Thinking theologically about technology

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones talks about the importance of thinking theologically about technology and the purpose behind The New Media Project at Union Theological Seminary.

New tools? What’s the big deal?

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Given that for two millennia, Christian communities have engaged various cultural worlds to tell the Biblical stories of faith, what’s so particular about today’s challenges?

Cyborgs have bodies too

Wednesday November 02, 2011
New Media Project research fellow Kathryn Reklis explores how we might be embodied online.

Liberty University worships on Facebook: It's not innovative, it's intuitive

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Lerone A. Martin explores Liberty University's recent decision to hold a worship service on Facebook when no physical space could be found.

Connecting with teens one digital mustard seed at a time

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Elizabeth Drescher considers how adult believers can set an example for teens on social media regarding the importance of integrating faith into everyday life. This may decrease the number of teens who leave the church as they reach adulthood.

Feast of the digitally-integrated incarnation

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Keith Anderson considers how our digital lives are integrated with our face-to-face interactions.

Incarnation and embodiment

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Kathryn Reklis considers incarnation and embodiment in terms of our digital lives.

The case for using technology in ministry

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Eugene Cho considers the case for using technology in ministry.

Emmanuel, God with us

Wednesday November 02, 2011
In the season of Christmas, Project Director Verity A. Jones explores how we balance a spirit of openness with safety.

Epiphany: A light to the world

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Jim Rice offers a little light to the world on Epiphany.

Theological expertise in the digital age

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Matthew L. Skinner, a biblical scholar, opines about the place of Bible software in the Christian life.

X-Reality

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Kathryn Reklis considers whether our Facebook selves are our real selves.

“It’s complicated”: When digital ministry gets REALLY real

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Elizabeth Drescher explores the challenges that come with digital ministry when relationship issues get messy in public.

Life exposed

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones considers how grace applies online.

'Suffer the little children'

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Jim Rice shares best practices for children's online safety.

The medium may be the message…but the message still matters

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Kathryn Reklis considers the importance of the message even in new media when the medium may be the message.

Don't forget baby boomers with smartphones

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Lerone A. Martin reviews research from Nielsen on social media and applies it to churches.

Social media and the gifts of the Spirit

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Jim Rice shares ideas about social media can help a church make better use of members' spiritual gifts.

Learning to value social media by using social media

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Jason Byassee offers a birthday blessing to a church member on Facebook and muses about its impact.

Mission-centered video online

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Kathryn Reklis takes a look at online video as a means of sharing the gospel message.

Can social media bring out what’s inside you?

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Gregg Brekke urges us to connect with people's longing and sense of purpose in this latest blog post.

Where’s the line? Using social media to screen potential hires and monitor employees

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones takes up the unsettled question about using social media to screen potential hires and monitor employees.

Using social media to listen

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones writes about best practices for using social media to listen.

Is this the fast that I choose?

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Gregg Brekke takes a look at fasting from social media.

Image and word, or pin it to win it?

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research Fellow Kathryn Reklis looks at the new social media site, Pinterest, and ponders the future of images online.

Saturday night ecumenism

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Laura Everett takes a look at social media and ecumenism in sermon preparation and discussion.

Should black churches use social media differently? Part 2

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Monica A. Coleman explores the question of whether black churches should use social media differently due to differences in the way that African Americans use social media and the Internet.

Does our ”˜digitology’ match our ecclesiology?

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Jim Rice blogs about his new essay on models of the church and social media.

The embodied conundrum

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Kathryn Reklis blogs about her essay in a look at what embodiment means in today's digital world.

High relief communities

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones explores the question of what social media do to communities.

Turn that thing off!

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Jim Rice writes about recommendations for taking digital sabbaths.

Just bodies

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Kathryn Reklis looks at the social media response to Sr. Margaret Farley's Notification from the Vatican and how it informs our recommendations for social media use.

Facebook and the demise of denominational labels

Wednesday November 02, 2011
_This is the third in a series of three blog posts by Laura Everett about social media and Christian unity._

A spirituality of privacy

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Jim Rice takes a look at online privacy issues and how that relates to our life as Christians.

Church voyeur

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Monica A. Coleman considers the way that social media increase the ability for all to participate in denominational conventions.

Facebook and the demise of denominational labels

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Laura Everett considers the way Facebook makes obvious our reduced reliance on denominational labels.

Avoiding the social media jeremiad

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Jason Byassee writes about finding a balanced approach to social media -- neither jeremiad nor cheerleading.

Online and embodied

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Jim Rice considers an incarnational evaluation of social media.

A sense of church

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Monica A. Coleman considers the way that our senses are engaged at church and wonders how online church differs.

Who actually uses this stuff?

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Lerone A. Martin takes a look at recent survey data about which Christian groups are most likely to use social media and technology for religious purposes.

Facebook and the elderly in the church

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Robert Saler takes a look at the use of Facebook by the elderly in his church.

Fools for Truth

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Jason Byassee considers the challenging of discerning the truth on the Internet.

Linked””to whom?

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Robert Saler considers how Christians can influence social media culture instead of just being influenced by it.

Media blackout as spiritual light

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Kathryn Reklis explores the spiritual significance of the media blackout at the recent #DolanColbert (#dolbert) event.

Text and confess

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Lerone A. Martin takes a look at a recent Rosh Hashanah service using text messaging as part of the worship service.

New Media Project one-day conference in November

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones announces our free one-day conference at Union on November 5th. We hope you'll join us for Digital Church: Theology and New Media. Register your place today!

The old rugged hymnal: New songs and old media

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Adam J. Copeland considers electronic versions of hymnals.

The Internet of things

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Kathryn Reklis considers how technology can augment reality.

Inspiration pinned: The rise of spiritual quotes on Pinterest

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Adam J. Copeland takes a look at spiritual quotes on Pinterest and how the church can respond.

Should preachers seek more ”˜audience feedback’?

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Jim Rice on the pros and cons of preachers seeking more sermon feedback in this age of social media response.

What churches do

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Monica A. Coleman considers ways that she finds church online that she used to find only in person.

Election politics and the practice of Facebook charity

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Kathryn Reklis on engaging with people of differing political views on Facebook.

New media usage rates challenge assumptions

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones reflects on the changes in new media usage rates and how that impacts the theological questions we need to be asking.

The top ten reasons to use CaringBridge when bad things happen

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Deanna Thompson shares her top ten reasons for using CaringBridge when bad things happen to your health based on her experience with a stage IV cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Digital religion and theological reflection

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Kathryn Reklis on the growing subfield of digital religion and the theological reflection taking place there.

Digital Church conference rescheduled for February

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones writes about our rescheduled Digital Church conference at Union Theological Seminary in NYC where we will be sharing our project's findings to date.

New Media Project blog refocuses

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones announces a refocusing of our blog and requests your input on topics you want to read about.

Super excited about the conference

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones shares her excitement about next week's Digital Church conference at Union. Read more about what to expect from the day!

Prayer for Lent

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones introduces the first topic for our new blog format.

Prayer and social media: Series introduction

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones starts off our six-week Lenten series, Prayer and social media.

Prayer and social media: An Anabaptist perspective

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Jim Rice takes a look at prayer and social media from an Anabaptist perspective.

Prayer and new media: A Catholic perspective

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Kathryn Reklis looks at prayer and new media from a Catholic perspective.

Prayer and social media: Call and response

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Lerone A. Martin discusses the way prayer via social media reflects the call and response tradition.

Social media as alternative liturgy

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Robert C. Saler responds to a recent Christian Century article about social media as alternative liturgy.

Prayer and social media: Resources

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones sums up our prayer and social media series with a collection of resources on the topic.

Religion may not survive the Internet

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Lerone A. Martin looks at recent claims that religion may not survive the Internet.

Tending to relationships

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones on the importance of tending to relationships in the intersection of pastoral ministry and new media.

Celebration and social media: Series introduction

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones introduces our new series on celebration and social media.

Celebration and social media: A new form of call and response

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger, Frank Thomas, writes about the way social media is a new form of call in response in this second post in our series on celebration and social media.

Celebration and social media: Creating and sharing music

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Brenda Freije takes a look at creating and sharing music through new media in the third of our series on celebration and social media.

Celebration and social media: Worship as celebratory conversation

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Matthew Myer Boulton considers worship as celebratory conversation in the fourth of our series on celebration and social media.

Celebration and social media: Searching for beauty

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Elizabeth Myer Boulton writes about beauty, celebration and social media in the fifth of this celebration and social media series.

Celebration and social media: Resources

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Jim Rice collects resources on the topic of Celebration and social media for the final post in this series.

Youth ministry and social media: Series introduction

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Director Verity A. Jones introduces our new eight-week series on youth ministry and social media.

Youth ministry and social media: Leaving a congregation

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Erica Schemper on some of the social media challenges of leaving a congregation where she served as minister of children and youth and how she has navigated that transition. This is part two of our eight-week series on Youth ministry and social media.

Youth ministry and social media: A process theology perspective

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Monica A. Coleman brings a process theology perspective to our series on Youth ministry and social media.

Youth ministry and social media: Revival

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Lerone A. Martin looks at the connection between the adoption of new communication patterns by youth has correlated with revival in American religious history in today's post in our series on youth ministry and social media.

Youth ministry and social media: Reading scripture

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Eric Augenstein considers the best way to get youth of read scripture.

Youth ministry and social media: Self-worth in the age of social media

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Dustin Hite takes a look at the way social media can impact self-worth, especially for youth.

Youth ministry and social media: Healthy boundaries

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Julie Richardson Brown writes about healthy boundaries with social media in our Youth ministry and social media series.

Youth ministry and social media: Resources

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Julie Richardson Brown with a collection of resources on youth ministry and social media in our final post in this series.

Social justice and social media: Series introduction

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones with an introduction to our new series on Social justice and social media.

Social justice and social media: If #BlackTwitter went to church

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Monica A. Coleman takes a look at #BlackTwitter and its impact in the reaction to the Trayvon Martin case in the US in the second post of our Social justice and social media series.

Social justice and social media: A Disciples perspective

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Project director Verity A. Jones looks at social justice and social media in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in this week's post.

Social justice and social media: An Anabaptist perspective

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Jim Rice looks at social justice and social media in the Anabaptist tradition.

Social justice and social media: #SocialJustice: Like us on Facebook

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Lerone A. Martin considers whether social media can effectively motivate and engage people in social justice work.

Social justice and social media: A Roman Catholic perspective

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Research fellow Kathryn Reklis takes a look at social justice and social media from a Roman Catholic perspective in the sixth of our seven-part series.

Social justice and social media: Resources

Wednesday November 02, 2011
Guest blogger Janelle Tupper with a collection of resources on social justice and social media in our final post in this series.