This past year has given way to what can only be described as an explosion on social media towards people asking the bigger questions about life. And this is the perfect opportunity for the church to meet people in their times of need or providing answers to their big questions – by sharing the gospel.
As Christians we have each been called to spread the word of God and to ‘make disciples‘ across the globe, so how effective can your outreach be if you can reach a much wider and bigger audience or community via the means of social media?
People are looking for answers. In this time of uncertainty and walking the unknown, comfort and peace is what people are seeking. The world is much more open to spiritualness and God at this time and having conversations that can bring light or hope is what’s needed.
The church has a place online to rise up, to bring light into the darkness and to help see lives changed. And by using social media the church can have more effective resources to meet people right where they are, in their homes and in their safe place.
Start with a conversation
That’s all it takes. Social media is as the name suggests, all about getting social. That means it’s about having conversations and engaging and interacting with people in their safe place. Each social channel is different and has its own set of users but choose ones where you think your church will have the most influence or impact. If that’s Facebook for example, set up a Facebook Page (not a profile) for your church, start inviting members or friends to join and post content relevant to what your church’s mission. When people start noticing your page and start engaging with the content, you have an opportunity to reply and to keep the conversation going. From this point on, and especially if anything gets heated, you could take the conversation away from public eyes and use the Messenger service as an alternative. Or even better still, ask for the phone number and arrange for a physical conversation! (And in time, hopefully a coffee and a chat!)
What to post on social media?
You may be stuck for ideas on what content to put on your page and that’s pretty normal when you first get started. You can split this up into different categories – not every post is going to speak to every reader. For example, you have your regular attenders and you have your visitors. You will also get people passing by or stopping by to take a look. Then you’ll have friends of friends who have seen comments that others have made – they might not be Christians but are interested in what’s being talked about. Theses are all very different audiences – so you need to try and cater for them all in some way or another.
What types of content you post can vary depending on which of the categories you are talking to. For example:
Posts that contain scriptures or daily bible verses – these are great for inspiration or encouragement. How great it is to speak directly into a situation, a post that provides confirmation or clarity.
Information or educational
Information posts – what’ on content that mentions the things you have going on in the church. Whether these are online or offline, provide some clarity and information about what’s going on and the groups & meetings you have. If it’s an online meeting, where is it being held, how can people join etc. If you don’t want to publicise Zoom links, ask people to message the page if they require the link. If you’re having in person meetings, are there guidelines that people need to know about, do they need to register, how do they register?
Live streams – videos from people in the church that are ‘live’. It’s great for a Pastor for example while in their study or out for a walk to take five minutes out to talk to the church through their Facebook page. When it’s Live, it gives opportunity for people to engage back with the speaker and for a two-way conversation to be had through the comments. If you’re having in person meetings, have you thought about Live-streaming the service so that people at home can watch and join in too?
It doesn’t have to be a complicated set up, all you need to get started is a mobile phone, tripod and the internet! Obviously, the better quality you want, especially in a live service scenario, the better the technical equipment you’ll need to look into. Here’s a great introduction to digital media for churches.
Videos – not live. You may not be comfortable doing a live video but perhaps you still have things that you’d like people to hear? A thought for the day, a prayer, an interview – why not video the conversation and upload it to your page? Videos get a much higher engagement rate on social media compared to still images – why not give it a go!
Articles from trusted sources are also a great way of communicating to your community. If you’ve read something that you think would benefit someone else, share it to the page.
You could also try some real-life photos or images of people from the church and again, things that are happening in your community. Try to keep it real and true to who you are as a church.
There have been many stories of people becoming Christians during the Covid19 pandemic and much of this has happened through online sources. Social media is such a powerful tool which can be used for a variety of reasons and evangelism is definitely one of them. There are hundreds of resources available to help you outreach online, you only need to Google the phrase online outreach material find an array of material. But bringing this back to your own community and making your church more effective online can only bless and encourage those who need it.
If you’re not yet back to in person church, or if you are but there are still those that cannot for whatever reason come into the building, use your social channels to speak to them and to reach out. Help them feel less isolated and included in what the church is doing. Use your socials to let them know what they can be doing from home.
Encourage your congregation to use your social channels and if you need to have a team of people to help manage the various platforms, seek out those who could do this for you. Got young people in the church? Why not set up an Instagram or TikTok profile and ask one of the young people to help manage it?
If your church is new to social media or doesn’t yet have a presence online, we’d love to chat this through further with you. Social media is definitely a tool that can be used to enhance evangelism and outreach if used correctly and can bring a community closer together too. Here at KJP Creative, we offer 20% discount to church social media packages – so if you’re considering getting started, get in touch and let’s have an initial conversation.
Malvern Hills Church was a prime example of utilising Facebook to keep their church engaged during the first lockdown. Not having much of an online presence, when lockdown hit, the leadership team were unsure how they were going to reach their community and beyond. But KJP Creative worked with them for 3 months to build their Facebook community and to help them ‘do church ‘online’ and promoting their first online Alpha. Now they have a vibrant Facebook page with great interaction from both their church members and their wider community. Read their full review here.