Augsburg Fortress
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Facebook , Creative Worship Tour and other challenges!

July 9th, 2008 by Beth A. Lewis

How do they do it? I am a bit of a fanatic about hospitality. It’s probably my southern (Lexington, KY) upbringing! Part of that, for me, is to respond to emails promptly. I receive somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 per day, so sometimes that can be a bit of a challenge. But, I work hard at it because I think that if colleagues, customers, etc. take the time to communicate with me, I should honor their time by responding in a timely manner….even if that often means that I give an answer that is basically, “I have no idea, but my colleague. (fill the name), will be back in touch with you soon.” It isn’t ideal, I realize, but since I’m happy to be the “door” into Augsburg Fortress, it’s the best that I can do until I figure out a better system.

Recently, we launched a new web-based community, Creative Worship Tour. It’s wonderful. A high energy center for sharing ideas, questions, conversation and friendship around creative (sometimes contemporary, sometimes ancient/future, sometimes liturgical) worship, music & media for a broad-based ecumenical group of passionate Christians. I check it at least once per day and usually have several messages from various folks around the Church.

Creative Worship Tour is part social networking, part content sharing space. That made me curious about the whole social networking phenomenon, exemplified by MySpace and Facebook. So, I was curious and launched a Facebook space. I was amazed by the number of connections and notes I received within a few days. AF staff members and former staff members. ELCA pastors and AF authors. Friends from business school. Second cousins (i.e. under 40 years old) and the people with whom they introduced me. Amazing. My favorite was from a youth pastor in Iowa (whose name will remain anonymous since I haven’t asked his permission to share it). He sent me a sweet note saying that he was impressed that I (implied in the nicest possible way…a member of the boomer generation) was on Facebook and laughing that his dad (a friend and “official” in this church) not only hadn’t tried out Facebook, but couldn’t yet download photos of his grandchildren. (Yes, this does give me leverage to tease his dad and my friend).

And, I recently opened up a personal email account with Comcast because I feel guilty when I receive personal emails on my AF email account.

So, here’s my question. How do young adults who have the equivalent of this many different web personae and more keep up and still manage to live their lives? If I get 200+ emails at work, plus now about 30 to 50 at my personal Comcast account (it’s small because only a few people have that email address), plus several notes per day on Creative Worship Tour, plus several notes per day on Facebook… life is becoming email/web centered!

So, that’s my question. How do they do it? How do young adults keep up with this juggling of multiple emails, social networking sites, etc. and still make time for work, family, friends, exercise, eating, sleeping, and other essentials of life? Teens and young adults: Please feel free to answer this query!

It’s exciting and energizing in many ways. But, to tell the truth, also a bit daunting. Welcome to Facebook, Creative Worship Tour, and other challenges!



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Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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