What do churches need to know about Social Media?

If you had the chance to talk to church leaders about why to use Social Media, what would you say?  
And…how is your church using Social Media right now?

monkey-1001

 

Need your input asap…no pressure 😉

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5 thoughts on “What do churches need to know about Social Media?

  1. I would ask…do you do missions? if they say yes…then social media is a no brainer. You owe it to spread your gifts through different circles. Social media is awesome for bursting the inward bred bubble.

    just me 2cents

  2. I’ll answer the second question first, because it is easiest. My wife and I haven’t found a church home, but my recommendations would most certainly be some prerequisites for us even considering a church 😉

    1. Your church should have a website with AT LEAST one dynamic element. Ideally this dynamic element could be Web 2.0 oriented. Just a quick definition here: a static web page simply presents information, photos, whatever. It is not interactive. A dynamic page has continually updated content and is in some way connected to some aspect of your ministry. Taking it a step further, Web 2.0 connects people in some way, shape, or form. A contact form is a static Web 2.0 method. Allowing users to leave comments on a “wall” or board on your site is dynamic Web 2.0 (even with a delay for comment moderation). A great dynamic element for a church website is a pastor’s blog. Very easy to set up using free services like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, TypePad, or self-host it (WordPress) on your church’s server.

    2. Your website should accurately reflect the atmosphere, mood, mission, values, and focus of your ministry. In other words, if you want to reach young adults, don’t let your website look like some static site that someone with no web knowledge designed in FrontPage. You can at least get a free WordPress account that looks WAY better that that! On the flip side, if you are a smaller middle-aged congregation, don’t make it look like a thriving young ministry. Another pet-peeve of mine is using “stock” photos of people who don’t go to your church. I have visited sites with pictures of young families and multiracial members, only to find an all-white middle-aged group of folks worshiping. Not cool. There are too many good resources for creating good websites out there to excuse this. Google vCHURCHES or WordPress for more info.

    3. Obtain some free social networking accounts, depending on who you are trying to reach. If you are targeting youth, your church or more specifically your youth pastor should get a MySpace account. Facebook is not just for young adults anymore. The 35-55 crowd is quickly growing on facebook. So Facebook is a MUST for all churches. I wouldn’t do a church page, the pastor should make a personal account. Remember Web 2.0 is all about connecting PEOPLE. Making a page for a church takes the win out of Web 2.0 sails in my opinion, because it takes something dynamic and makes it static. So create a personal Facebook account. This is not as widely used yet, but I think is a must for reaching more young adults: Twitter. Definitely get Twitter, and link it to your Facebook.

    If you are still unsure of what Web 2.0 is or what this stuff is, I wrote a post about how to do all of this as a church. The post, entitled “What is Christianity 2.0?” is available for free at http://prayeramedic.com/2008/10/what-is-christianity-20

    I hope this helps some! Feel free to comment on that post with further questions or email me directly. I’d love to chat.

  3. Thanks for your input Dan. These are some definite first (and fairly easy) steps for churches to consider.

    Is your suggestion for the pastor alone to have a fb and twitter account? Encourage the congregation to go there?

  4. The pastor should certainly lead the way when it comes to FB and twitter. Once the pastor has one, he can encourage others to join and then they can become his friend. Of course he would in essence be a sort of “meeting point” for the others, members of the church would find one another through his profile.

    I don’t know about encouraging the congregation to twitter. That really depends on a lot of other circumstances of which I am not aware, my guess is probably not. But certainly recommend FB. As I said in the post I linked to above: “As Christians it is vital for us to be leaders in this emergent form of community… it is crucial for older and more mature believers to embrace the Christianity 2.0 community so that they can mold and help mature it. If the only people who embrace this cultural shift are young adults, then we will look to each others’ input to grow and mature. Wouldn’t it be so great if older and more mature individuals were contributing valuable input to the community? Not only is this a great idea, it’s necessary for optimal growth!”

    “The church is rapidly evolving and becoming an organic network of communities, moving away from the traditional focus on a building and a local activity-oriented agenda. Change is being made towards a global and boundary-free approach to social networking, which is changing the way we “do church” and think about Christian community.”

    I think people in the congregation who begin to FB would be surprised how they might reconnect with family members, old friends, etc. It doesn’t work too well with youth in my observation, and if a youth’s parent is into Web 2.0 big-time it tends to turn the youth off because they feel as though their freedom of expression will be policed/monitored. But for young adults all the way through elders, it’s a wonderful thing! P.S. MySpace is still the way to go for youth.

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