If your reason to use social media is to advertise your services or activities you will think of the people you meet as customers or clients, not as Joe, Jim, Joann or Jess. When you think of these people as customers you basically strip them of their individual identity and at the most they end up in one of your intended target audiences. But Joe, Jim, Joann and Jess expect –and deserve — to be met as individuals.
This requires first and foremost that you look at social media as part of your ministry. Too often I’ve come across the idea that ministry is what goes on in the church building and social media can, at best, funnel people into the church. No, social media is as much part of your ministry as your activities in the physical buildings. Church is and happens where ever Christians come together.
By all means, make information easily accessible online, but focus on the meeting human to human.
How can this be achieved? Well, on Digital Bible on Facebook we have 9.2 million people and it’s–unfortunately–simply not possible to respond to every comment individually. But we do respond to every message, and always individually. Sometimes we ask people what payer requests they have and we always like every single posted prayer topic to show we have read it and prayed for them. These posts also result in hundreds of messages to the inbox, which get individual replies.
In my local parish the situation is totally different. A lot of the people on our social media pages are the same people we know. While Digital Bible is the only way to communicate with the people liking that page–and because of the size it’s impossible to respond to each person–Backa kyrka is for the most part a group of people meeting online as well as offline. Social media becomes another place for the parish to live and the benefit is that people can visit and interact with us from home.
- How does your church think of social media?
- Is it a one man show or part of the ministry?
- Is it a part of the ministry or simply regarded as a way go get people to church?