Social Media for Ministry
By: Bryant Clark
Mobile is now the fastest growing industry and is expected to grow by 1,000% to 58 billion by 2015. It has also been projected that, in the next five years, mobile devices will overtake desktop computers. This is an excellent way to stay connected to current members while capturing new members exactly where they are.
There are several ways to capture the audience of the community through social media, such as daily Facebook inspirational posts along with scriptures. This will enable members who have clicked "like" on the ministry's Facebook page to access the ministry, receive encouraging posts throughout the day, and communicate with one another one post at a time.
Using a church app will give the ministry the ability to send a message to every registered member, guest, and friend that ever visited or connected with the ministry about upcoming events, new posts to the website, a link for donations, or even weekly announcements.
There are currently 1 billion monthly unique YouTube users, and Rovio's Angry Birds was downloaded 1.7 billion times. Ebay has 100 million active users, while Facebook has 1.6 billion monthly active users, with 680 million mobile users, including more than 50 million pages and 10 million apps.
This is just an example for the growth potential to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. To think that we can send a scripture and it goes viral is amazing to show how many people we can reach for the kingdom of God.
The Bible speaks of going into all the nations and sharing the good news; now we have the ability through social media to literally go into all nations one post at a time. Moreover, what is simple about social media is once the message is out, friends share with other friends, which is also spreading awareness about the ministry by default.
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him." (I Corinthians 2:9 NLT) Who would have imagined 20 years ago, when pagers were the most popular form of communication, that today we would advance in technology to the levels that we have? Jesus said that the things He did, we should do greater; reaching each person we can for the benefit and betterment of their souls is our No. 1 responsibility as believers of Jesus Christ.
As in the days of old, Jesus went where the people were; Jesus dwelt among them, and this is what needs to be done in order to reach the lost from a different direction. There has been talk that social media is of the world, but we must remember we are in this world, but not of this world…so, in order to reach the world, we must go into the world so that we can introduce them to Jesus so that he may draw all men unto Himself.
This is an excellent task that has been placed before us that now, more than ever, we are equipped with the very tools to carry out discipleship without burning out our disciples. Think about how social media can benefit an outreach ministry! Instead of having to go door-to-door as in the traditional way to reach out to the community, now through social media, we can send an email to thousands of people all at once. We can complete a phone tree and reach 700 members with one call. We can post to our website and reach millions of people around the world. The possibilities to reach people are endless. God has blessed us to use social media for His glory, just as long as we do not let Facebook replace our faith book.
There are several simple methods of communication that can be completed by the multimedia ministry of the church. What is a multimedia ministry? This is the department of the church that handles all communication and service production of the ministry. They can consist of the technical aspect during service to the website design. The multimedia ministry will usually manage the ministry's social media pages, as well.
This is very important when creating awareness for presenting the ministry to the community. If the ministry does not have certain social media pages, their members will go to other ministries for the emotional support they need throughout the week. Most people will go to the people they see on television if their own ministry does not have social media pages. This is vital in keeping connected with members. Posting inspirational quotes and scriptures keeps the members engaged. It gives them something to look forward to while they deal with the obstacles of the day. The greatest thing we can do is use social media to spread the gospel to the current members while bringing in others.
Another excellent benefit of social media is allowing the gifts of the members to be revealed. You would be surprised the gifts that are in the congregation. There are so many ways to bring the social media pages to life!
Many multimedia ministries are non-existent in some churches, so they have chosen to outsource to local businesses. The businesses manage the website, mobile app, and social media pages for the church. This is a good way to start creating a social presence of the ministry if volunteers are not available. If you decide you want to work with a business, make sure you review their work, ask for references, and have your legal team review all contracts to read the fine print. Make sure the business will not be able to sell the ad space on your church page.
Ideally, when starting your social media marketing, make sure that every page matches. Try to use the same logos, the same colors, and the something about the church's upcoming events. The best way to create instant credibility is photos. Pictures speak volumes. On every social media page, make sure there are pictures of the first family, the church officials, and the ministries including men's, women's, and children's ministry, along with anything showing outreach or community involvement. People like to see themselves, which makes them want to share the pictures on their pages and create more awareness of the ministry event.
Anything that will capture an audience is what needs to be displayed on all social media pages. Having a YouTube page is not only creating a captivating audience, but also a way for traveling members to stay connected to the ministry. If each ministry leader has a twitter account for their ministry, each volunteer can follow them so they can send tweets amongst one another. There are so many ways to use social media for the benefit and betterment of the ministry.
Bryant Clark is general manager of MyPocketChurch.com, which has been developing mobile apps since 2010 for ministries around the world, www.mypocketchurch.com.