Q&A with Rachel Legoute

Q&A with Rachel Legoute


Rachel Legouté is the community manager for THRED, a project of Lutheran Hour Ministries. In that role, she publishes content on a variety of social media platforms and learns about their audience from the responses and conversations that follow. Rachel holds a degree in Christian outreach from Concordia University, and has a background in professional church work, not-for-profit management and corporate material analysis.

Q: Tell us about what THRED is trying to do and how it’s going. 01

THRED is a digital outreach project that creates space online for an open and honest conversation about life, faith and Jesus with people of different backgrounds. More and more people are choosing online spaces to talk about topics they find relevant.

At THRED we strive to be a place where de-churched and non-churched people willingly come into contact with Christians to talk about real issues of our times. We believe that hearing other points of view is critical to developing dialogue that opens space for the gospel to be heard. We are encouraged by feedback from people who self-identify as agnostic or atheist, telling us how refreshing it is to share differing opinions in a place that challenges their thoughts without the conversation turning into a shouting match!

Q: While digital interactions are increasing, people still prefer in person conversations about faith or religion. Given this, what do you think draws people to a digital space to have spiritual conversations? 02

People flock to social media and online forums to share their thoughts on just about everything. As people become more comfortable having conversations on digital platforms—about their kids, pets, dinner—it is natural for them to also have conversations about deeper subjects.

Spiritual conversations in a digital space are unique in that they happen at the pace of people’s lives. Digital conversations don’t typically happen in real time, meaning that people can consume a piece of content and then reflect on it and on their response, before posting a comment later. In the same way, they have time to digest comments they receive and drive the conversation forward at a pace that works with their schedule.

The low relational investment for beginner conversations can also foster a safe environment for easy sharing. For the most part, people in our spaces are complete strangers at first. They don’t have a prior relationship. Some members of the THRED community express feeling free to be totally honest with their viewpoints from the get-go because they aren’t worried about damaging an existing relationship.

While conversations that lead directly to a conversion experience are more likely to happen in person, we know that the road to faith is not always short or linear. We create a space that feels safe for people to share their ideas so that they’re willing to come back for deeper conversations. As followers spend more time in our spaces, we see them open up more and more. We get to learn more of their life stories and gain a deeper understanding of how their life experiences shape their thoughts on life and faith.

Q: When you think about the conversations you’ve moderated on THRED, what can you say about people who are most effective at dialoging about faith? And what about those who are less effective—any common mishaps? 03

The hardest conversations to moderate on THRED are those involving Christians who are more interested in telling people what to think than in having a genuine dialogue. They may mean well, but in the name of “doctrine” these Christians are slowing down the journey of a non-Christian toward Jesus. That’s why we try to model leading with a posture of listening. The question mark is a powerful piece of punctuation! We’ve seen many newcomers to our site completely disarmed by people who truly listen by asking them what they think and why they think it.

Continue Reading
Back to the Study

Digital Faith Interactions

Read Section