If social media has become a “to-do” relegating it to a drudgery, you might be looking at it the wrong way. It’s a huge opportunity for those of us in ministry. In fact, it has me wondering if Jesus would have used it in some way. Then, you’d have to have smartphones and of course Steve Jobs would have had to arrive on the scene around 40 B.C. I digress… The fact is we’re in ministry to reach others with the Gospel and Jesus accomplished that in simple, normal ways — quite often just showing up where the need was. I don’t know what your Facebook feed looks like, but it’s usually a three-way tie among very proud parents, photos of overly-spoiled pets, and wannabe politicians. There’s a need and an opportunity for us. Social media is like a modern day Sea of Galilee — a place to hang out and reach real-life, Gospel-hungry people. Our influence, presence and injection of God’s Truth into social media sheds light to a darkened world.
Would you miss this opportunity?
So, back to the drudgery part — here’s where I hope to shift your thinking. What if you could walk into a crowded coffee house and talked with 50 people. What you had to say was so moving that those people then shared what you said to their friends and family. They told their friends who told yet other friends and so on. When all is said and done, you might have reached 1,200 people from a simple, humble crowd. Well, not sure where you worship, but 1,200 people would max out most of our churches. What an opportunity! So, now imagine if your words met a need. Imagine if your posts visually represented a Scriptural truth that resonated with someone void of hope. Social media then becomes a “Church” of sorts — a platform to reach the lost or prodigals that might never otherwise enter a sanctuary.
Cast your net.
Look as social media as the wide part of a funnel. With Jesus at the narrow end. Our job in ministry (and for any Christian) is to point people to Jesus. Social media has the potential to cast a wide (and relatively cheap) net to boost awareness of your ministry and ultimately lead people to the Lord. All off a sudden, that “fishers of men” metaphor Jesus used comes to life with social media! It’s OK that your logo/website url is on your posts, promoting your ministry in some way. Ultimately, that might be the way they get in touch not only with new projects, but perhaps it opens a door for conversation about faith.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). Prepare your social ahead of time — think through what you want to say and how you want to portray it visually. Don’t wait until last minute, but rather carefully craft your messaging and how it’s visually portrayed to maximize the attention it draws. Do this for a month at a time, giving staff and others you trust time to speak into it. We do this regularly for our clients in what we call a “content calendar.” You can see an example of this on our home page at ImageStudios.net/social-media. “What do you want to say? What events can you invite the public to? Be strategic in what you say and how you say it, then shape it into a social-friendly, visually appealing post. Then track it using “Insights” and analytics to see what’s impacting and engaging people the most so you can accentuate that in future posts.
Make sure it meets a need.
Don’t always “preach,” but rather offer hope. What themes are you using in Scripture to encourage your Church community that can spill out into social media? Think of something that will resonate or that is timely they would be likely to share with others. That’s where you get the most traction when, like the coffee shop, they share with their friends and their friends share as well. Before you post it, ask yourself: “Is this something I’d be likely to share on my timeline or retweet/repost?”
What a great opportunity we have! Could it be that God has placed at our fingertips social platforms that are the lifeline for hundreds in your community? That’s a pretty cool perspective to have and one that I hope will give you a renewed sense of the potential your social media has to reach others. After all, the Gospel was meant to “share.”
- The Connected Church by Natchi Lazarus
- The Social Church: A Theology of Digital Communication by Justin Wise
- Getting the Word Out: How to Market Your Ministry by Bunnie Jackson-Ransom