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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Social Media and Ministry

There's a lot of pressure to be connected to social media today. Sites like Facebook are very popular (it recently passed Google as the most viewed site) and it's important for churches and ministers to be connected here. But I've found that there's a real lack of understanding that keeps churches from being effective in social media. This is not an online newsletter - people can comment and connect in new ways.

Some thoughts:

  • Don't take yourself to seriously. Have fun. Engage people in a real, friendly manner.
  • You can't control what happens all the time. The best case scenario is for you to lose control and for people to be having their own conversations on your Facebook page. Don't fight it.
  • Everyone is equal online. Just because you're the preacher, don't expect to have an more rights than anyone else. 
  • The goal is not to be heard, but to transform the hearers.
A specific case comes to mind here. Recently I posted a status about women's shoes and I got a bunch of comments. A friend of mine (also a minister) lamented that people would comment about shoes, but not about godly topics. So I followed up the next day with a status about religious conversations - I got almost as many comments as the shoe status. The difference between what I asked and a lot of Christian content on Facebook is that I ask questions instead of stating a position. You won't be able to transform you hearers unless they are engaged in the process. Positional statements and citing Scripture without offering questions will kill engagement. 

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