I met Matt McKee through a mutual friend, Jeremy Zach who is a blogger.  When Jeremy began working for reThink he introduced me to Matt who invited me to blog for the Orange ’12 conference.

Over the years, through online and offline conversations, I have gained much respect for Matt and what he does both with reThink and his side work with ROAR and Warrior Poet Clothing.  In particular, his social media presence and interactions have always been a model and example to me.  I love all he does to get out into the forefront of social media.

With that said, I have asked him a few questions recently about social media and what reThink is planning for Social Media at Orange ’14.  Here are a few questions I asked him.

YM Sidekick: Why did you start getting involved in Social Media?images-4

Matt: I am a connector, I love people, and I want to learn all I can. Social media was a simple extension of what I was already doing offline. It gave me a place to connect my passions with like minded people. Once I started using social media the question that kept waking me up at night was how do I leverage these tools for the sake of the gospel. That question still hits me frequently.

YM Sidekick: Where do you see Social Media going in the future?

Matt: We already have our “real” lives and our “digital” lives. I believe social media will make the distinction between the two less obvious. Because of this I believe we will see less sharing on open networks and start choosing more closed networks. Think of an application like Path. I believe that is where social media is heading but Path was way before its time.

YM Sidekick: How have you found Student and Family Ministers be able use Social Media to minister to students and families?

Matt: There are 2 groups or communities that pastors need to communicate with and they are volunteers and parents. Empowering both of these communities outside of the walls of where a ministry might meet on a weekly basis is huge. Social media gives us this opportunity. The biggest issue is that ministries have to get past just posting when people can come to those 4 walls. We have to get to the point where we social media as an extension. We have to start answering the question, How does online communication drive offline conversations? If we can get there then we can maximize how ministries utilize social media.

YM Sidekick: Does Orange have any plans to be further incorporating social media into their curriculum?  How so?

Matt: Orange has put a lot of time and energy into equipping churches and teaching ministries about social media. In fact each one of our curriculums comes with a social media plan that churches can use whether they use our curriculum or not. Take 252 Basics for example. You can find a weekly plan that gives leaders 6 tweets, 3 Facebook posts, 2 pictures for Instagram, and 2 articles to pin on Pinterest. You can find all of that on the Our student ministry curriculum has a monthly social media plan that they give to student pastors. Even if you don’t use these plans you can still learn a ton from them. You can see the types of questions we ask and the types of content that we share.

Beyond that we are launching a new initiative that you will have to wait until the conference to learn about. It will further our hopes of helping leaders with social media.
YM Sidekick: Can you give a teaser of all the social media breakouts OC ’14 is offering?  Why should go?
Matt: Whether it is improving your skills at social media, connecting to parents and volunteers better, or simply trying to reach out to your community we will be stretching you to think about these things. I am teaching a breakout in particular that will focus on how social media is very visual, intentional, and measured. Our social media strategy as a ministry should go way beyond what we are eating at the moment but should have an end in mind. Oh and I won’t be the only one teaching about social media. Jon Acuff is also joining me this year. It will be a great time of learning and laughter.
So there you have it!  Orange has some great things already in the works and even better things that lies ahead.  With the Orange Conference just a few months away now, it is best to SIGN UP TODAY so you don’t miss out on this tremendous opportunity to have some fun, learn and be challenged in a way unlike any other.  You can click here for the details and to sign up.

Oh and PS…”like” YM Sidekick on Facebook here and “follow” me on Twitter here for regular updates.

Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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