Authentic /ôˈTHentik/ adj. relating to or denoting an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposive, and responsible mode of human life. also of undisputed origin; genuine.
If there is one word to take away from the CNMC this year, that would be it. It was a word that was used often and with broad implications on our interactions. To be authentic is the only way we connect with people. This is the biggest lesson learned. Don’t be a fraud, and don’t be a mouthpiece.
Before the conference even started, this idea was apparent. One of the things that strikes me every year is the closeness of my ‘internet friends,’ to the point that it seems more like catching up with an old acquaintance than meeting someone for the first time. This year I had the honor of meeting Fr. Cory Stitcha, who is one of my ‘inner circle’ hereafter referred to by its proper name, the Shenanigans, on Google Plus. We had never met before IRL, but we knew enough that there were points of conversation that we didn’t have to cover. We also knew little enough that there were appropriate gaps to fill in. So, over a really great IPA (Harpoon) and a meal at TGIFriday’s, we talked about a huge swathe of life stuff, some of it related to the conference, but most of it not. It was like catching up with an old friend, and not at all like that awkward first meeting where you really aren’t sure what to say.
Besides being baffled about where to bow during the opening Mass (and being sick enough that I felt I would pass out a couple of times) the day was off to a beautiful start. From the first presentation from Msgr. Tighe of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications we heard about how to be authentic in our involvement in online communications. The Council gets it, they are being very authentic in their approach to social communications, foregoing a strategy in favor of letting their outreach develop organically. Msgr Tighe speaks about their efforts like a scientist speaking about the deeper parts of his chosen field, with an enthusiasm and understanding that would make anyone interested in their studies, and that’s how they are approaching things, as studies in effectiveness. They are willing to learn and grow, and to move with the way the internet is moving. It is refreshing to hear that the Vatican is not going to be a supporter of social communications, but a generator of energy and life for the future of this important venue for the Church.
The workshops were fantastic, and I’ll break them down more in the coming days, but I have to say that Scott Landry’s was the most significant for me personally. Permission to move beyond being the “New Media Guru” and into being a disciple maker for social communication was exactly what I needed to take away from this year’s CNMC. I need to take the passion I have for reaching the lost online and instill it in to a team at my parish that can then share our lessons learned with more parishioners. It’s exciting to think of my job in that way, rather than the guy that gets input for advertising events. I’m building my team now, there are a few whom I already knew would need to be involved, and there are others for whom I’m praying that don’t know God is going to move them in this direction. I’m hoping to catch some of those people that aren’t already over stretched in ministry, and I’m reaching out to every ministry leader to find them. Intimidating in a parish with over 70 ministries, but also very exciting.
So this is my goal, my #CNMCProject as I shared on Twitter. Building a missionary group with a clear field in social communications, and instilling them with the skills and the passion to both go out and minister, and to disciple others in to ministering as well. Thank you to all the wonderful members of the CNMC team, the SQPN team and the Archdiocese of Boston for a great conference.
There’s a ton more that I want to share, but I’m going to stop here for today, and get back to calling ministry heads and planning lessons. I’ll keep you all updated as to the progress, and intend to keep up the blogging around this, so look forward to it I guess.