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Lutheran Hour Ministries' popular social media website THRED ( thred.org) is building bridges in 2020. In a year simmering with social unrest, a spreading virus, and a looming presidential election upon us, THRED offers an outlet for people to speak their minds openly about life, Jesus, and faith. LHM's launch of THRED three years ago has proven fruitful, and since the outbreak of COVID-19 usage has spiked dramatically.

"THRED's average weekly reach for the first five months of 2020 is 113,271 compared to 39,585 for the same period in 2019," said Rachel Legouté, LHM's digital development manager. "This is a time when people are looking for an encouraging word. How grateful we are to be positioned in a place to share content and conversation with a lost and hurting world in such a time as this. We can use our profiles and online platforms to be voices of hope for those who are taking to the internet with their fears, anxiety, and pain," she added.

Responding to the pandemic, THRED is producing a video series called "Work from Home." It features voices from THRED team members Legouté; Jon Christopher, LHM video editor; and other THRED vloggers. Another helpful resource are the COVID-related blogs written by Rev. Dr. Chad Lakies, LHM's regional director for North America. Recent submissions like "Overcoming the Feeling 'I Am Not (Doing) Enough'" and "Making Decisions in a Time of Panic" have resonated widely with readers, causing THRED's blog numbers (interactions) to more than triple since he's starting writing.

These two THRED resources are helping attract interest and build momentum for the website. Also helping is THRED's YouTube channel, "What Jesus Says." Legouté added, "The people we're creating content for are people outside of the church. To best connect with them, we enter conversations by listening to understand. We ask questions to clarify and better engage the person we're speaking with. I tell volunteers our job is to keep the conversation going; you do that by having an open and honest exchange that truly takes an interest in the other person."

THRED welcomes your involvement in its mission, too. Simply visit lhm.org/pledge and take its Digital Conversation Pledge. You can also become a Digital Conversation Team member. These are people who will serve as trained volunteers to interact with THRED users, providing love, hope, and support. It's another way that THRED is making connections with people on issues that matter in their lives right now.

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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