Leading by Example: Digital Neighbor Outreach

posted on May 07

By Rev. Chris McAlilly, Co-Pastor, Oxford University United Methodist Church
Three years ago, Oxford University United Methodist Church partnered with Faith Community Formation Office and Committee to create a digital outreach communication strategy. Since then, OU has slowly built up its online presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.
And now, more than ever, OU has had to rely on digital communication for worship, discipleship and community outreach, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Increasingly, OU has sought ways to bear witness to the love of Christ in their community in addition to online worship.
The staff wanted to find an immediate next step for their Easter Sunday digital congregation to offer hope to others. They reached out to Baptist Hospital seeking ways to support hospital workers who are serving tirelessly on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The support staff suggested an ice cream party on Friday, April 17. OU partnered with a local gourmet ice cream shop, The Oxford Creamery, to provide 400 single scoops of ice cream during an afternoon break. On Easter, families were encouraged to make signs of support and dozens of people posted pictures or videos expressing gratitude for our hospital workers using the hashtag #ForOxford. 
This was a very simple, replicable way for a local congregation to show the love of Christ in a tangible way to frontline workers while supporting a local business.
Additionally, OU was able to amplify the message on social media! 
Visit Oxford University UMC website. Join their online worship service, every Sunday on Facebook or YouTube || Modern Worship at 9 am ~ Traditional Worship at 8:45 am and 10:55 am