Editor’s note: Andy Thompson is senior pastor of World Overcomers Christian Church in Durham.

DURHAM, N.C. — Encouraging people to text or tweet questions from their seats during a church service, streaming a wedding or having sermons available for purchase on iTunes may sound unconventional. At World Overcomers, however, they are a part of the unique way we do ministry.

Social media and technology have helped us spread the Gospel and evangelize our faith in ways impossible for previous generations.

For example, we utilize a software tool called ProPresenter during our services that allows for a more interactive worship experience. It allows us to display scriptures, song lyrics and sermon notes. Members can use it to tweet and text questions to us during the service, which are then displayed on the screen. I answer the questions on the spot or at the next session.

Three years ago, we jumped into social media, knowing that we were going to have to embrace this new technology to remain relevant to the populations we serve. We feel so confident in this that we created a Facebook Like Station in the lobby of our church. We encouraged all congregants to start a Facebook account and like our page. We have a QR code on our bulletins so they can scan it with their phones and add us automatically on Facebook, instantly making our church an integral part of their lives.

In my opinion, every church preaching God’s word must embrace new technology and immerse itself in social media. In this day and time, if you don’t exist on the Internet, you don’t exist.

Technology helped me introduce myself to the Triangle. When I moved from Oklahoma, I brought 30 videos of my sermons to air on local television, edited to include me showing the progress of our church’s construction. When we opened our doors in 2003, thousands of people already knew my name and the church’s mission from that exposure.

We are still on TV today. Every service is streamed live, and we air locally on myRDC. Sermons are then archived on our site at Wocconline.org/livebroadcast.net.

One of our 2011 goals was to use media and technology in order to unify our service to members, so we created salaried positions with our marketing department to address this. We have begun using a new software tool, Fellowship One, that helps us better connect with families and communicate with our congregation; manage our weekly giving; and provide congregants access to see their giving records at any time.

We can register people for events more quickly, more effectively track counseling appointments and individual counseling processes, and utilize a check-in service that helps us track how many youth we serve.

We plan to build on social media and technology in 2012, thanks to our continuing growth (we are nearly 7,000 strong). Our new church building will feature a lobby that will include kiosks where worshippers can purchase our messages electronically by receiving a download code. That will save us the financial costs and time we spent previously creating those items on CD and DVD and save our parishioners the hassle of having to wait in line after a service to purchase the messages.

Social media and technology have helped World Overcomers fulfill our mission of being a ministry that is “large enough to serve you, yet small enough to know you.” We believe we will continue to make a difference in the lives of members in innovative and creative ways through our continuing and expanding use of them.

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