For nearly two weeks we sent teams out every day to do flood relief. They sorted peoples' valuables, cleared out homes, pulled out drywall and flooring, prayed with people, cried with people, served people–loved people.
More than 2,200 volunteers responded to our call for help–a call for help that began with some simple Twitter messages and grew to include a fully interactive website, updates on our personal blogs, and frequent email blasts.
In the weeks that followed, our social media efforts helped avert the "out of sight, out of mind" syndrome that happened when national media attention waned and the city itself got back to business as usual. There were still thousands of families who needed to know they weren't forgotten. Social media became the platform for us to keep the need alive and to rally volunteers as opportunities to serve continued to surface.
Additionally, we received tens of thousands of dollars in donations for flood relief from churches and individuals across the country who knew of the flood need only because of our social media focus.
I'm convinced it was no accident that our pastors and staff have been active social media users for the last several years. I believe that God gave us influence in this medium "for such a time as this." (Esther 4:14) The expediency and viral nature of social media allowed us to engage people to serve as I believe God had called us to for this specific moment.
The flood changed my perspective on just how powerful social media can be. I tweet and blog with more sensitivity now. I watch for needs and identify ways that I can pray for others. I look for opportunities to serve and for opportunities to encourage others to serve. I'm reminded that God will use whatever He needs to use to accomplish His purpose, and I pray I'll always be receptive to how I can be a part of His plan!
How has social media helped you mobilize your church for ministry?
Jenni Catron first shared this story in the book @StickyJesus. She serves as the Executive Director of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN, and is a contributing editor for GiftedforLeadership.com. She loves a fabulous cup of tea, great books, learning the game of tennis and hanging out with her husband and border collie. Jenni's passion is to lead well and to inspire, equip and encourage other women to do the same. That passion drove Jenni to start the women's leadership community, Cultivate Her. Jenni blogs there and at www.jennicatron.tv.