Churches: use social media to reach your community

In the last few years, social media has become a major component of the Internet. Why is it so popular? Anyone can do it. No technical or writing skills are needed. There are huge opportunities, both for individuals and churches.

This awareness is growing, and there are frequent social media training days springing up in towns and cities. There are many webpages explaining how to use social media, either as individuals or churches.

The biggest social networking tools are Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest and Google+ are also becoming significant. There are regional equivalents of Facebook in some countries. YouTube is also a strategic component of social networking, because video clips are so frequently shared within Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

There are no clear boundaries within social networking – all its elements intertwine, integrate with fixed websites and blogs, and frequently enhance existing face-to-face relationships. We should not try to compartmentalize these opportunities, or even think of an offline/online divide. It all joins up!

Social networking basics

Many people and organizations have mistakenly tried to apply an old ‘print culture’ model to the Internet in general and social media in particular. Print was largely one-way, mass-media, proclamational, preaching, publicity, or informational. Perceiving the Web as ‘print on a screen’ is limiting, even misleading.

We are now in a ‘digital communication culture’. It is not just that the tools we use to communicate are different. The very way that we communicate, even think, is changing. Len Sweet’s book Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival explains this quantum leap.

These are key elements of social media:

Since biblical evangelism is usually relational and discussion-based, social media are an ideal match. See this valuable chart explaining the differences between an older traditional understanding of one-way evangelism, and a more effective relational approach which the writer has called ‘withreach’.

Don’t try to use social media as a ‘pulpit for preaching’, or as a one-way publicity tool. The foundational key is to perceive it as a ‘cafe for conversation’.

The best way to understand the different social media tools is to use them and observe the etiquette and procedures that others employ.

Church use of social media

Personal and church use of social media obviously differ somewhat. That which is published in the church’s name represents the fellowship. Personal use relates more to an individual set of friends and followers. Check these challenges and issues:

Learning more

church toolbox logo Please share your comments on this new page first draft, and also suggest best social media resource links to add.
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