Boulevard Spreads Good Word Through Social Media - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Boulevard Spreads Good Word Through Social Media

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Countless families spent their Sunday morning in church. They brought their hearts, voices, and Bible.

Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church said you are encouraged to bring all three as well as your smartphone to tweet and post on Facebook during the service.

Tweeting about the sermon is not only allowed at The Boulevard but it's encouraged from parishioners to the pastor.

The Boulevard
is one of the most venerable churches in Memphis that takes its ministry beyond limits of the pew and city. They've taken their services virtual.

"There are a number of people who are not physically here but who are connected with us in worship, who may be at home or at work, but they are streaming our services this morning," said Rev. J. Lawrence Turner.

For many churches the Internet provides what radio and television did generations ago: it delivers the service to an immeasurable number of new members from as close as Chicago and to as far as a missionary in India.

"So it is a great way for us to not only get our message out, but to keep people connected to the great things that are happening through our ministry as well," Rev. Lawrence said.

Social media also plays a huge role in getting out The Boulevard's message. Tweeting during worship is not considered rude, as long as the subject is the service, the sermon, or even the choir.

"I have interacted with people during service," said one parishioner. "You know, our church is big and I can interact through Twitter with them during service and after service."

Boulevard Christian Church Communications Director Shayna Steward tracks the number of Tweets, retweets, Facebook posts and likes to gauge if the service generates a buzz.

"I am constantly getting tweets," she said. "Pastor just tweeted. It's evangelism. It's getting the gospel out there in a new way. You want to target people where they are and people are on social media. So you want to engage people, so a lot of times on Monday mornings I want to see what most people were receptive to."

"It gives me a chance to assess myself and my ministry," Rev. Lawrence added. "So if there is a point where I say, 'Wow I missed it,' it gives me a chance to go back and reshape my approach."

Might the social media push have unintended consequences? Creating a virtual congregation who will never attend service in person because they can worship, hear the sermon and engage in fellowship online?

"I dont worry that is going is going to be a problem," said one parishioner. "I still think that people need to connect to each other."

The Boulevard is connecting people to faith in a way the saints may never have thought possible.

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