In the Meantime,
One thing we have all learned from the pandemic is that VUU is not the place but the people. As we get closer to when we can be with one another in person again, let’s remember the first part as much as the second. That’s why I applaud the Board for supporting the goal of being both virtual and actual in the future. They recognize that VUU will be people from all over, not just greater Phoenix. We have worshipers from Washington State, Alaska, California, Michigan and more.
And zoom worship is not our only virtual presence. Each service is recorded and posted to YouTube where even more people find it. In fact, our most viewed video is one about Hinduism from three years ago and has generated a sizable conversation among Hindus. I only learned this last week, by the way.
VUU has been virtual for sometime on YouTube and Facebook. Before the pandemic it was largely to attract people to come to our campus. What we should realize is that these are not just ways to get to VUU but are forms of VUU themselves. But to do that well, to nourish these virtual communities will take some conscious effort on your part. What kind of effort?
We need moderators – people who can post material, cultivate conversation, moderate online behavior, and such. In my previous church we had a part-time staffer to do that, and it made a huge difference in attracting interest, and increasing engagement. We do not have the money to hire someone, but I am wondering if there are a few folks in VUU who would be interested in doing this as a volunteer. Think of it as being like our Worship Associates, who assist and advise the staff in creating our services that express our values to the world. Only in this case it would be to manage our presence in social media.
If this appeals to you, let me know. Religious communities that embrace their virtual identities have and will be those that have the best chance of thriving in the future. Let’s give your next settled minister a team that can do that. – FW –