The Pope and other religious leaders reach out on Social Media - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

The Pope and other religious leaders reach out on Social Media

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The Pope is now on twitter; he opened an account just three days ago and already has over half a million followers on just his English speaking account. 

The leader of the Catholic Church actually opened Twitter accounts in eight different languages. He has not sent out a Tweet yet, but is scheduled to post his first Tweet on December 12th

The Pope is not the only religious leader tweeting out there. In today's world of online connection, churches and other religious organizations are looking to social media to stay connected and spread their message to the masses.

Embrace church in Sioux Falls is one religious organization that is all over the web.  Its Facebook page has 11,000 likes; they're using everything from Twitter to Facebook to Instagram and Foursquare. 

The Catholic Dioceses in Sioux Falls is also on the web, with Facebook and lots of multimedia content on their webpage.  They say the Pope's lead has prompted them to look into a Twitter account as well. 

It's a lot of information to take in, but leaders say it's extremely important to get plugged in online at every possible avenue. 

"It really is the best way to come to the people whether its youth, college age young adult or older," said Embrace Pastor Adam Weber. 

These new media outlets may seem very different than traditional Sunday morning church, but religious leaders say it's all about connecting—something the church has been doing since the very start. 

"I think that you can go back to St. Paul and say, St. Paul used the means that he had available in that day," said Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese Communication Director Jerry Klein. 

Today social media is at the top of people's means of communication. 

"We're trying to use social media as much as we can, not because it's the cool new thing, but because its speaking the language of the people we're trying to reach," said Weber. 

It's a language that keeps a congregation connected throughout the week. 

"They come to church on Sunday but are still looking for other ways throughout the week that they can stay involved with their faith," said Klein. 

It's also helpful on Sunday mornings.  Weber says his church posts a twitter hashtag on the front stage and encourages people to pull out their cell phones during service. 

"I always say open up your bibles and you know, if you have it on your cell phone, iPad, we actually encourage you to get that thing out!" said Weber. 

Both leaders said all religious organizations should be using any means they can to meet people where they are at and bring their message to the masses instead of waiting for them to walk in the front door.

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