3 Ways Social Media Can Benefit Your Church
by: Felicia Shakespeare
First and foremost social media has to be viewed as a tool that will get users from a means to an end. It’s not intended to replace what should be deemed as “normal” human behavior, like face to face interactions or verbal conversations but I’m convinced that social media, if used consistently, and in the right context, can allow individuals in a ministry to connect “quickly,” “consistently,” and “effectively,” with their congregation. Social media can become an active and significant component to enhance any church’s ability of reaching people.
Let’s stay connected……
The greatest advantage of social media is the opportunity it allows people to quickly connect. For example, if the Pastor or another ministry leader, such as the Pastor’s Wife, Youth Pastor etc. wants to write a blog addressing their area of the ministry or just share something they feel is straight from the heart of God, the opportunity is now here to share. It could feel almost like a one on one conversation with the readers. The readers have the ability to participate in this process because they can provide comments or feedback about the blog. If they have additional questions, those can also be posted. Blogs in most instances are setup to be shared through other social media tools like Twitter or Facebook, therefore this information can be forwarded on, now turning this into a form of outreach.
Social Media: Support System
Social media in my opinion is ultimately designed to “bring people together” and with it’s ongoing use can create a powerful dialogue, giving members the feeling of a strong consistent support system. The infamous question that leads to almost all discussions on Facebook is the prompt: “What’s on your mind?” For a congregation, what better forum to give a voice to the members? The information being posted first and foremost is customized to the audience of friends, fans, or followers, which varies depending on the application being used. Pastors can make regular personal posts themselves, which always adds a special touch as the leader, or they may allow a staff member to act on their behalf as an administrator of the page. This allows for quick dissemination of whatever is intended to be communicated either way. Most times unless members have set-up an appointment for a formal counseling session at the church, it’s seemingly can be impossible to really get quality one on one time with a Pastor before or after a church service. Sometimes members have questions and may be too shy to ask or just may not have the time to wait in a line to speak to the Pastor. By the use of social media you may actually post what you are wanting to share as the advantage is the applications are accessible 24/7. You can post when it’s convenient for you! I can recall there were instances that I have wanted to share something with my Pastor or ministry leaders, but time may have not permitted me to stay to share or to meet and greet them. But now that dynamic has changed, I can post a comment or send a note. Posts on any of the tools are identified as personalized from the individual sending, therefore the interaction shows that it’s coming from you!
A World of Information
One third advantage of social media is it allows Pastors and staff to keep members abreast of what’s happening in the church in a concise, effective manner. Not only can daily messages of encouragement be shared, but actual up to date announcements, like; births, deaths, service cancellations, etc. can be communicated through social media mediums. Many individuals have these applications on their cell phones as well nowadays which allows for real time, up to date data!
Churches can also use social media tools for personalized invites for upcoming events. This allows the event planners to gauge the number of possible participants. This will also help a ministry team be more effective in their planning. If there is an overwhelming positive reaction to attend an event, it can then be assumed that the planning team is on the right track with that group. At the other extreme, if there is minimal interest shown to attend, then it’s back to drawing board for the next time or that event may even be considered for cancellation in order to reserve resources. Effectiveness represents success, not just going through with something ignoring the raw data being provided!
If you can clearly understand how social media will impact your ministry to quickly, consistently, and effectively, impact how you serve your members, I would say invest in all of it’s possibilities. It is a free resource.
About the Author
Felicia R. Shakespeare was born and raised in the Chicago land area and currently resides in this part of the United States. Her professional background covers both the business and educational sectors. She is the author of the self-published book “Cycle of Prayer; The Never Ending Journey,” and the executive producer of it’s companion CD “Cycle of Prayer; Volume 1.” She is also an ordained Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and serves faithfully at her local church in many different capacities. Most of all she holds a sincere passion to see souls saved and people empowered to become whole; body, mind, and soul. She currently holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration, and two Master degrees, one in Teaching and the other in Educational Leadership.
Proverbs 31 mirrors her endeavors and achievements as she continues to give God all the glory for the things He has done in her life and truly the best is yet to come! Proverbs 31:17, states: She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. (NLT)