Saturday, April 28, 2012

Social Media Thoughts - Part 5: Intentionality

Strategy: a simple little word that so many in our congregations use daily in their secular employment. Yet when it comes to communicating our vision, direction, and even recent events in the life of our churches there seems to be a lack of strategy. I submit to you that Christ has a strategy in communicating with the world. Through the incarnation, He spoke to man in a language we could understand. I don’t just mean the spoken word but also through the sharing of the human experience! There is certain what Christ said but also what he did and how he related to the people around him.

This leads me to my next point: having a strategy explicitly demonstrates intentionality to the approach to our outreach efforts. Make no mistake about it; utilizing the internet is a facet of the outreach effort of the local church! If you don’t care of the use of the term strategy, use intentionality instead. The point? The church plans our order of worship each week, the music that will be used and the pastor spends many hours in prayer and study preparing the message our Lord would have us hear each week.

On a more extended level, each ministry area in the church makes plans each year, many pastors plan sermons weeks or months in advance, even building plans that will not come to fruition for years are all planned. We see in Exodus 4-6 that God had plans for Israel that included Moses as their leader. We see in Joshua 1-3 that God’s plan for Israel would be fulfilled even after the death of Moses. Before this we see God had already planned on Joshua becoming the leader of Israel (Num. 27:18; Deut. 34:9) upon Moses’ death.

God clearly has plans and most churches do a good job planning yet the way these things will be communicated to the congregation and the community at large is given little thought in many instances. In short, we lack a plan when it comes to how we want to communicate. Being intentional about how the local church wants to communicate about their ministries, upcoming events, etc. is only one aspect of this though.

There is also the matter of which tools we want to use. So we have made the commitment to maintain a well laid out website with current content. Next, do we want to use Facebook, Twitter, and/or other online platforms to connect with each other and our community? If a Facebook page/s are to be used, how open will it be? Will commenting be allowed? Who will moderate those comments? The same holds true of a blog if one is started? There are obviously a lot of questions to be asked and answered!

Barry Dollar, the Creative Web Strategist for the Georgia Baptist Convention has a great website (ChurchWebSocial.com) I highly recommend churches considering exploring a greater online presence check out. He even encourages people to e-mail or call him with questions. Though I have no personal connection, I thank God for Barry’s ministry. If you are just beginning this conversation in your church, this is a good palce to start.

Here’s the bottom line I will close with: whether a local church has a communication strategy/intentional online outreach plan, each already has an online presence. Don’t believe me? Google a local church in your area! Go ahead, open another tab in your browser and check right now and see if I’m right. There will almost always be at a minimum the name of the church, address and telephone number, and driving directions. In other instances, there will be more information available. Our churches already have property on the internet. If you don’t claim it and use it to define who you are and what your mission is, others are already doing it for you!

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