As I stated in a previous post, I have become a fan of social media. I believe that churches should have some sort of online presence in the form of a well maintained website since the vast majority of people seeking a local church find it on the Internet. For those churches who have elaborate websites and do a good job of maintaining them, bravo! However, my thinking about websites has shifted since I served as webmaster for a church where my family and I were long-time members. That was before social media had become what we know it to be today. Websites can be an awesome introduction to our churches but there is so much more to each local congregation!
First of all, I want to give a clear reason for why I have come to believe in the power of social media and why the church should use it. The mission of the church is far different than that of a secular business. Rather than seeking to sell product at a profit, the church seeks to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And to do that, we need to love them enough to meet them where they are. And believe me, many of our friends, neighbors, and people we seek to reach with the Gospel are using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Many churches have been cautious in their approach to these new media. It is wise to resist the urge to jump at every new piece of technology that comes to market!
Since I have been referencing Facebook and Twitter, it is appropriate to distinguish between them. Whereas Facebook is a robust application where individuals and organizations can create an interactive online profile, Twitter is a microblogging service allowing short posts of 140 characters with each post called “tweets”.
For getting information to our people fast or letting our communities know about events in real time, Twitter is my preferred tool. For more detail about what’s going on, Facebook is where I prefer to post. For communications that are planned in advance, such as this series, I prefer to use my blog. For the church, I am thinking tweets should be several times a day, Facebook should be several times a week, and a blog should at least be several times a month.
A little something about blogging; every church I have been fortunate enough to be a part of wants to hear from their ministers more! A blog is a great way to speak into the lives of the congregation on a regular basis outside of normal activities in the church. Offering a biblical perspective on issues of particular interest such as the church’s outreach efforts, various ministries, and even the recent huge Mega Millions multistate lottery might be topics of discussion. The point is this: people want to hear from their pastors! Enough said.
So what’s a church to do with all of these tools? In my next post, I will briefly discuss the need for our churches to have a communication strategy. If that phrase kind of turns you off, consider this substitute: every church needs to be intentional in their outreach efforts. Better?
 Schraeder, Tim, and Kevin D. Hendricks. Outspoken: Conversations on Church Communication. (Los Angeles: Center for Church Communication, 2001), p. 29.