I have ran into many churches and pastors today that are looking for ways to connect with their community. Some underestimate the value of the tools that are readily available today at our finger tips. Others may not believe they are capable of using such tools that the internet provides. While Social Media cannot compensate for a lack of outreach, service, and evangelism that is needed from the church laypersons, leadership, and pastors…it can provide a way for you to connect. This connection is something that is probably needed for you to engage with your congregation outside the walls of the church. It is also a way for the church to present the Word of God to the community that is not yet understanding the vision of your body of believers.
Here are some tips on how and why you can and should be involved.
Tip #1: Engage online. It’s where your people are. Those that are 35 and below spend about 7.5 hours on average per day connected with media. Older generations are also using media but not in quite that extensive amounts. Regardless, people are their and where people are…the harvest is also.
Tip #2: Post updates of value. Sure, you can post personal quips or humorous thoughts and pictures, but do them sparingly in between those things that readers will find relevant, thought provoking, and beneficial for life. The Word of God is certainly beneficial for life! Don’t get caught up in lots of Food pics (guilty sometimes) or 200 straight photos of your pet (no matter how cute or awkward they may be…less is more).
Tip #3: Social media is not a fad like the 8-track player. Each day social media is being redefined (and sometimes even improved…sometimes). More people use Facebook every day than have cable TV. The internet has become an incredible resource for information. Some of it is really bad information. Let us with clarity, honesty, and integrity present the truth of God’s Word with His grace and for His glory.
Tip #4: Get to know, “follow”, and encourage your congregation & the community. Social media is not to replace personal relationships, but it is a great connection point. You can share interests, and know the needs of your people. This is not for “stalking or creeping” or even to make share that people use absolutely perfect grammar all the time. Do not be the grammar police, but DO share enough care for your people to know them even in their environment. Let us encourage & spur one another on all the more toward to life that pleases God.
Tip #5: When using social media…you must remember that it is a PUBLIC forum. As such, not everyone will share the same ideas (virtuous or not) as you may have. This is a great place to declare what you honestly know and believe…BUT and this is a BIG BIG BUT…Never say something online that you would not say publicly and openly. Remember, every word and deed will be called into account. Do it all for the glory of God.
Tip #6: Social media is not over your head. Although the methods for reaching the world and knowing your community are changing fast, this is not beyond you. We almost always have the capability to learn to do that which we want to be able to do. You learned how to use a cell phone and remote control. People are truly important…show this everywhere and in every way that they are loved by God…and also by you in such a way that you meet them even where they are.