In a world where every entity is getting more social – companies, charity organizations etc and even individuals themselves. I cannot but ask, “should this change neglect religion?” I think not. If businesses can increase their turnover via social avenues, and individuals are improving their connections in 140 characters, then I see no reason why the church shouldn’t convert souls via this ‘new media’ or at least increase their audience (members). In this vein, here are three ways a church can get more social:
- Twitter: Especially when you have a large youth audience, you cannot over-emphasize the importance of twitter. Why shouldn’t a church have a twitter account? It’s free after-all and doesn’t take much to manage. Also, you have a semi-ready follower – audience who can in-turn convert other followers. Well, it’s not just enough to have a twitter account, what churches do with it matter a lot. I can write a whole book on how a church can maximize relevance in 140 characters, but let’s take one example. On a sunday like this, to assume that everyone will be in their respective churches will be the lie of the day. For whatever reason, poeple are likely to see your tweets. If any other part of the service cannot be live-tweeted, the main message should at least be. Catchy quotes and statements made by the pastor should be published. Will it be too big for me to say that in 2012, any event that’s not either live-tweeted or broadcasted in anyway is not an event.
- Blogging: On my mind right now is the distribution of tracts and pamphlets by churches. While this traditional way of spreading the gospel may still be effective in local communities, every church with a global aim should look beyond this medium. One, have you noticed that people don’t really fancy sharing those papers, OR they just forget to share it. Also, with the complexities of today life, who has the time to move from house to house sharing tracts. Only few committed people do. You can trust me on that. But, how difficult is sharing a link? How difficult is tweeting a link to an inspiring blog post? Not difficult you say. But it’s saddening to discover that most churches are yet to start employing this strategy. I make bold to say that the audience have moved beyond the market place, they’re now online. We need to move the message to where they are. I believe that every church should blog at LEAST once in a week. The senior pastor doesn’t have to do the blogging should he not have time, any other trusted and “annointed” person can (should) get that done. Err, did I say too much. May be not. If there’s nothing to post, drop the pastor’s Sunday message, at least.
- Presentations: This is in addition to blogging. Churches organize several programs annually and speakers of such programs usually speak with powerpoint presentations. How difficult is opening an account on Slideshare and uploading those presentations for future reference by either the church management or the members themselves? Instead of saying “thank you for attending, we will mail the presentations to you”, eliminate the stress of sending to multiple people by simply uploading such presentations on slideshare and send the link to them. Or simply ask them to visit your slideshare page. Err, most of the programs I’ve attended hardly deliver their promise of mailing presentations to me.
It’s good to see few churches explore these new media. Let’s keep the list short today, we’ll explore other social avenues later. Should you or your church need help in planning your Social Media strategy, SocialMeep will be glad to help. Happy Sunday!