Several years ago when I first received an Apple iPad one of the first apps that I downloaded was the Holy Bible. I remember being nervous when I initially took it to church and used it instead of reading from the book.
I thought the members would think that I was playing games or reading something other than the scriptures. You see at that time the only ones using an iPad or Tablet in Church were little kids whose parents have given it to them to keep them quiet during services.
Not long afterward others began using their Smartphones and Tablets so I felt a bit more comfortable, however, I knew not everyone was reading from their Holy Bible app. I had seen members of the choir scrolling through their Smartphones as Preacher was speaking knowing they were not reading the Bible but checking Facebook or some other Social Media app. You can always tell, it’s that look…the eyes are darting up and down quickly like you do at a stop light.
Granted the popularity of social networking and digital communications is growing exponentially, so the church should not shy away from these new forms of media, and they should be actively present in them. However, as with all forms of communication and personal interaction, there are healthy, normative ways of using social media and unhealthy, potentially abusive ways as well.
I have recorded the choir singing and then uploaded it to my YouTube Channel with followers thanking me because they didn’t make it to service and appreciated the ability to hear the choir. Checking in on Swarm or Foursquare once at church is also a great way to let your followers know where you are. Sunday Style OOTDs are very popular on Facebook and Instagram because many want to share what they wore to church which is an incentive for others to do so as well.
Getting the word, whether from inside a building, on television or the radio; from the internet or even in your car. Back in the 80s, there was actually a Drive-In Church on Route 113 in Dover, DE. Getting the word should be of utmost importance so watching it on YouTube or from a Facebook Livestream should be acceptable – or should it?
Hubby and I watched a Facebook video that included an Omega Stomp and both of us agreed that it was inappropriate to do so in the church.
Social networking tools can build and deepen relationships if used appropriately.
Here’s a question: Similar to the employer and educational system guidelines, should Pastors or Clergy set the rules and regulations for parishioners to adhere to or should it be left up to the parishioner to decide what he or she wants to post or have posted online?
About three-fourths of online adults are on some form of social networking. This means that for the sake of the gospel and the mission, your church needs to have a voice there as well.
Social Media is the New Town Square
Throughout history, people of all generations have gathered in town squares, public spaces where the local community gathers for social and commercial purposes. In the old days, it used to be a literal “town square,” and it still is in some places. Social media is the 21st-century town square.
Social Media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn can be the meeting place, the place people go to find out about a church, what’s happening at the church and where the most significant conversations are actually taking place right now – today, that’s on social media.
You have to meet the people where they are because that is where Christ Jesus went and if growth is important to the church, then you must be where the youth of today are – online – they are not all hanging out on the street corners or neighborhood parks, they are heads-down on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Because people are there, here a few things church leadership should consider.
First, every church should have an active Facebook presence—and that presence must be public and not simply a semi-private group page. A group page is acceptable for internal communication, but every church needs to have a public page as well.
A Facebook page’s full potential is seen with two-way conversations and not just one-way announcements. Social media is no longer a fad, it is established in our culture. Facebook is a great way to engage with guests after they’ve visited your church because it can be tough to make sure you have everyone’s email address; which makes emailing major church issues or announcements and asking for prayers somewhat difficult.
Through Facebook, your church can share a major prayer request or physical need someone may have, and instantly, church members or people in the community can respond and help in any way they can.
With some strategic thought, churches can reach those who are regularly using social media with church announcements, activities, events and community involvement announcements.
When it comes to creating a Social Media Platform for your church there should always be goals and objectives and below are three that I am sharing from MinistryBestPractices.com
3. Call to Action
1. Communication – Social Media must help the church effectively and efficiently communicate it’s message. Certainly, Social Media isn’t the only medium. A church can communicate to it’s people on the Sunday morning platform, bulletins, mailings, phone calls, emails, face-to-face conversations, television, radio etc. Social Media, though, becomes just another effective tool to add to the church’s communication mosaic. But Social Media has some unique benefits all it’s own in effectively communicating:
- it’s easy and effortless, it doesn’t take much money or manpower to implement or use it.
- it is so available and pervasive that it isn’t hard for people to miss the message.
- it’s variety, social media takes many different forms, words, audio and image.
- it’s viral, the beauty of social media is that your message can expand well beyond it’s intended audience – therefore exposing and introducing new people to your cause and community.
2. Connecting – Social Media must connect your community. Unlike communication which most often pushes information in a “one-way” direction, connecting must create a conversation. You must ask, Will Social Media create conversation within the community? Are people able to talk to you the minister/ministry team leader? Can they talk to one another? Also, part of the conversation involves other key elements:
- contribute, can others contribute in helpful and meaningful ways to the conversation? Are they even able to shape the conversation?
- collaborate, does your social media allow the benefits from the collective hive of experience, skills, and knowledge from your community?
3. Call to Action – Social Media must prompt people to do something. It can’t be passive. Some of the calls to ACTION might include:
- Go, are you asking someone to go and serve others in some way?
- Give, are you asking someone to give either of their time or financially to the cause?
- Pray, are you calling people to act in concerted and persevering prayer?
- Mobilize, are you asking people to spread the message of the cause to their friends and networks?
So as you think about Social Media for your church, ministry or non-profit, you must ask yourself….How will Social Media help our church, ministry or organization Communicate, Connect our Community, and Call People to Action?
If you have a clear answer to that question, then most definitely your church should invest in Social Media.
Let’s Chat: does your Church, Mosque, Temple, Kingdom Hall or Synagogue promote posting on social media?