Friday, October 4, 2013

Request for Participants (for D.Min.) Research about Church Social Media Community Building

Marcus Cylar
Editor's Note: After participating in his first #ChSocM chat over a year ago, Marcus Cylar contributed a brief reflection about that experience. Now, he's reaching out to our chat community for assistance with his D.Min. research, which he explains in the following post.

Help pioneer authentic online Christian communities...and support my D.Min. research...

Greetings, #ChSocM friends!
For over a year, whenever I could escape my rambunctious kids for an hour, I've participated in our weekly chat. I've introduced myself as a Doctor of Ministry student examining the role of social media in community building and spiritual formation.

This has been exciting research because we've just barely broken ground with online community management in a ministry context, and I believe there's so much we can do with communities to: a) disciple and empower believers for service; and b) promote mental and spiritual health by providing strength to those who are lonely and/or need encouragement along this Christian journey.

I firmly believe with sound management and genuine participation, an online Christian community can be just as edifying as an in-person group.

Our lives are not lived in a vacuum. We all need to be in an encouraging community of some kind, but we often allow time, trust issues, and possibly aversion to groups to keep us from seeking the much-needed fellowship.

What am I doing and why? 
As part of my doctoral work, I've designed a 6-8 week study in the form of an intimate, vibrant online community designed to help answer this question:
What are the characteristics and benefits of an effective, life-giving online pastoral support group in a social media setting? 
How can you help? 
I'm looking for 30 participants of all ages (3 groups of 10) to join an online community on a closed membership site for 6-8 weeks. Participants will have the opportunity to contribute to daily or weekly forum discussions, as well as to bi-weekly video chats, all designed to facilitate regular communication and promote fellowship.

This is not a class and we’re all adults with many responsibilities, so I wouldn't dare give you a bunch of work to do! I’m just looking for some good people excited to see the growth of online Christian communities.

Sound interesting? Want more info?
Please contact: or tweet: @pastorcylar. Thank you in advance for supporting my research!

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