Jennifer Fulwiler is a writer and speaker who converted to Catholicism after a life of atheism. She’s a contributor to the books The Church and New Media and Atheist to Catholic: 11 Stories of Conversion, and is writing a book based on her personal blog, ConversionDiary.com. She and her husband live in Austin, TX with their five young children, and were featured in the nationally televised reality show Minor Revisions. You can follow her on Twitter at @conversiondiary.
Exciting news from the Catholic tech world: Lighthouse Catholic Media and Flocknote announced last week that they are entering a formal partnership. I've been watching both companies with great interest over the past couple of years, and I'm very excited about this turn of events.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Flocknote, the company is doing really interesting things in the intersection of the Catholicism and modern technology. Founded by the Register's own Matthew Warner, the company offers parishes a way to communicate with their members in a streamlined, efficient, customized way. For example, the adult faith formation director could use Flocknote to send an email newsletter to the RCIA group, and the youth minister could use the same interface to send a text only to families whose children are part of the youth group. At the high level, the pastor could log in to see which communications have been sent by which groups, what their response rate was, etc. Here's a short video that explains it:
Flocknote has long been of interest to me because of the way it helps the Church Militant operate efficiently. When I first became Catholic, one of the things that was most remarkable was the concept of the parish community. In the secular world, there were few things like that. It struck me that there was a lot a power in believers having this kind of in-person connection with one another, rooted in a physical place. I loved this idea of harnessing the power of modern technology to break down roadblocks in communication, since, too often, organizations of all types are held back by a simple lack of information flow. It seemed that platforms like Flocknote could be an indispensable tool to help parishes to thrive -- and, now that Lighthouse Catholic Media is part of the picture, it's even better.
Many of you are probably already familiar with Lighthouse. Their popular CD of the Month Club has helped countless Catholics understand and appreciate the Faith at a whole new level, and their kiosks in parishes across America provide invaluable resources for anyone seeking to learn more about Catholic beliefs. Now, thanks to the new partnership with Flocknote, all of this great content will soon be even more easily accessible. For example, a pastor might make a new Matthew Kelly talk available to parishioners through an email download, or the confirmation class could receive inspiring MP3s -- sent right to their cell phones -- to help help them prepare for the big day.
I recommend keeping both of these companies on your radar. Both had been doing excellent work on their own, and now that they've joined forces, I predict big things from this partnership. Flocknote has mastered streamlined parish communications, and Lighthouse has mastered education and evangelization, and so the combination of these areas of specialty promises to be a big coup for the American Church.
P.S. And Flocknote is hiring too!