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Social Media and Outreach | Church and Social Media

Recently Mashable posted an article on how church’s use Social Media. One of the interesting statistics on the infograph was that churches reported Social Media as their #1 outreach and communication tool. That feels like a misleading statistic. The confusing part is that it ranked ahead of “knocking on doors”.

Now, if Social Media is your #1 communication tool that makes perfect sense. Between Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter you can communicate your message and reach a high percentage of the congregation. Social Media has supplanted the traditional means of church communication – the weekly bulletin, stage announcement, mail, etc.

However, Social Media cannot replace a church’s outreach efforts. Very few churches are using Social Media and seeing people come to Christ. Social Media can compliment the message but it cannot be the church’s sole method of delivery.

Use Social Media to communicate. Use Social Media to do Outreach. However, add it to the arsenal - do not let it replace the arsenal.

Why the Chick-Fil-A Day worked | Church and Social Media

Chicken hysteria broke out Wednesday as people from all over the U.S. flocked to their local Chick-fil-A to support Biblical marriage and the right to free speech. Former Governor Mike Huckabee, tired of the continuing rants against Dan Cathy for his statement of support for Biblical marriage, called for Chick-fil-A appreciation day on August 1.
Although I have not seen the official numbers yet it was, without a doubt, a huge success. The Chick next to the office was so busy that cars were wound around the building and down the street. That scene repeated itself over and over again around the nation. Many restaurants ran out of food before the day was over. People waited in long lines, for over an hour at some locations, during the peak. The chicken is good – but it is not that good! People were waiting in line to make a statement more than they were to get some nuggets.
So, why did that work? It seems that the Christian community tries to rally around topics and are completely unsuccessful most of the time. How did the Chick-fil-A event garner a flood of support.
I offer these 4 reasons:

1. Trust

Trust is important for any movement to succeed. We want to trust the people leading and rallying us. In this case, we trusted two very trustworthy guys – Mike Huckabee and Dan Cathy. Huckabee has been a Pastor, Governor, presidential candidate, and now a talk show host. All of those positions scream trust to the American people. Dan Cathy is the CEO of a very successful and generous chain of restaurants. He gives much to charity, teaches Sunday School, and does a host of other things that say “trustworthy”. For any movement to take root trust is an important factor.

2. Social Media

When Huckabee called for the show of support he mentioned it on his radio show and on his television show. The truth is, I do not normally listen to either one of those shows. How did I find out? Twitter. The idea went viral on Facebook and Twitter. Not thousands, not tens of thousands, but hundreds of thousands of people engaged, commented on, and shared the idea. Before the age of Social Media it would have been near impossible to pull off an event of this magnitude in that short amount of time. You couldn’t have spread the word fast and clear enough. But with Social Media, ideas and information spread quickly, accurately, and virally.

3. Simple Action

The idea was successful because it called for a simple action – visit the Chick-fil-A of your choice on August 1.No complicated directions … no tedious instructions. No one asked me to do something that wasn’t within my normal routine of activity. I eat most every day. So, all I had to do was make sure that I ate at the right place.If a movement is to gain momentum it will only be with simple instructions. Complexity ruins a movement.

4. Positive

Finally, the idea became a movement because we had the opportunity to be “pro” something. It seems that the Christian community enjoys being against a lot of things – and we should. But, this was an opportunity to cast a vote in the positive. We weren’t boycotting something -we were supporting something. We like to add more than we like to subtract.

We like to add more than we like to subtract.

Being for something that day made us feel good inside. By in large (from the leader at least) it was done in a humble, positive way. Huckabee said on his Facebook page, “This is not a stand against a person, a group of people, or even someone else’s belief. The only protest that I know of is coming from the chickens, who will give their lives in large numbers to accommodate what hopefully will be a big day at Chick-fil-A.”

In all of this we can find a good lesson for leaders. If we want to move people, the movement will have to entail these four elements in today’s society:

  • Trust the leaders of the movement
  • Use Social Media to spread the word
  • Call for simple action
  • Stay positive

What else do you think made the day successful? Leave your comments below:

Millennials – We Want our Facebook & Phone! | Church and Social Media

Employee

A recent study suggested that young professionals value access to their smartphone and Facebook more than money.

The findings come thanks to Cisco’s second annual Connected World Technology Report, a study released today that says attracting and maintaining Millennial talent takes more than the number of zeroes attached to a weekly paycheck. The company surveyed 1,400 college students aged 18 to 23 and 1,400 young professionals under the age of 30 across 14 countries. HR and IT managers take note: “The growing use of the Internet and mobile devices in the workplace is creating a significant impact on job decisions, hiring and work-life balance,” the report concluded. “The ability to use social media, mobile devices, and the Internet more freely in the workplace is strong enough to influence job choice, sometimes more than salary.”

Millennial’s want more than money – they want access to their network.

How does this effect your church?

It means that using, and encouraging the use of, these tools means a lot to a younger generation. Instead of bemoaning the use of mobile devices and social media a church should encourage their use. 

Connect with people where they are and they are on their phone and Facebook!

 Connect with people where they are and they are on their phone and Facebook!

  • Encourage them to read their bibles on their mobile device, iPhone and iPad
  • Post snippets from the sermon on Facebook
  • Explore mobile giving
  • Give something away for the person who takes the best sermon notes on their phone and emails them in
  • Use texting for contacting parents with children or preschoolers in extended care

….the list could go on and on!

Take a moment and rate how friendly your church and church service is to mobile devices and Social Media. You might improve your outreach to Millennials by doing so!

And, leave your suggestions below….

 

 

Turn your phone off in church … NOT – Church | Social Media

Turn your phone off in church ... NOT - Church | Social Media

It used to be (it may still be at your church) that there was a sign hanging on the door that asked you to politely turn your phone off during the worship service. And, years ago people complied – well, almost everyone did. There was always one person who did not turn theirs off and that pre-set ring would go off at exactly 12:00 sharp and it would take the person the entire invitation to find their phone to turn it off. You know the one.

Anyway, it was that we wanted people to unplug during the worship experience. That was yesterday – this is today. Today, we do not really want people to unplug – we want them to be plugged up and plugged in during the worship service. Now there is a generation that could not do church without their electronic device. When they bring their device to church they are bringing their Bible, commentary, worship music, sermon note taker,  diary, calendar, contacts, camera, and social device with them.

Comscore recently released this information:

Analytics firm comScore released new data today showing that U.S. mobile social media audiences increased 37%, and more than half of social mobile audiences read a post from an organization, brand or event on their mobile device.

People are using their mobile devices like never before to help the do life! In my opinion we shouldn’t fight it – we should tap into it. Have portions of the service where you are asking people to use their mobile device and then ask them to go silent for a few minutes.

Here are 3 ways you can tap into the mobile device your church members bring with them:

1. Put “snippets” of your sermon in the bulletin

Instead of putting your outline in the bulletin what if you put snippets from your sermon that could be broadcast on Facebook and Twitter? What if during a portion of the service you encouraged everyone to post 1 snippet to their network? You would ensure that your message was getting out to people who had never been to your church. You would be helping your people be a digital witness.

2. Encourage photo sharing

Ask people to take pictures of their day at church and to post them on-line after the service. They could get their small group to pose for a shot. A staff member. A friend. When you tag people in pictures on Social media the effects can be multiplied.

3. Take your Ipod and open to ….

It is OK for people to use their device to read the scriptures. YouVersion even has a way you can upload your sermon notes online for people to view during the service. I do not mind for people to read on their phones because I know that wherever they go that week their Bible will be with them.

 

Those are just a few of my ideas…. if you have more share them below.

 

Reach Teens with Twitter – Church | Social Media

Twitter Graphic

The research is in and teens are flocking to Twitter. One recent study found that as many as 16% of online teens were using Twitter and girls age 12-17 were twice as likely to be using Twitter as boys age 12-17 (22% vs 10%).

The reasons are probably many on why this would be the case. Teens may just be experimenting with a new social media; they may belooking for a site their parents aren’t using; they may be finding it easier to follow their “stars” on Twitter; they may like the privacy Twitter users enjoy. Whatever the case, if teens are on Twitter, the church should be too.

Why? Religious and church activity is on the decline according to Barna in at least six key areas.

  • Small group attendance
  • Prayer
  • Sunday school participation
  • Donations to churches
  • Reading sacred texts other than the Bible
  • Evangelism

That being the case – we need to go where teenagers are – and they are slowly moving to Social Media and Twitter.

If you are in ministry (Pastor, Student Pastor, Small Group leader, etc) and you are interested in reaching students  – here are three things you can do.

1. Follow them
Sounds simple enough doesn’t it. By following that teenager you are letting them know you value them. It is a sign of respect in the Twitter world when you follow someone’s updates.

2. Engage them
If they follow you back send them an @reply “Thank you”. Engage them in Twitter conversation on a consistent basis and encourage their walk with the Lord. Find out about their world and don’t just have a one way conversation.

3. Resource them
Use Twitter to provide resources to help them in life. You might mention them in a “Verse of the day” or a devotional you follow on Twitter. Put things in your status updates that will apply to their lives.

Use Twitter to connect with teens and you might reach more for the Kingdom.

 

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CAUTION: Treat all of these relationships just as you would an in an off-line setting. Avoid private messages. To the best of your ability stick to like gender. Do not get over your head. Keep your spouse updated on all activity. NEVER do anything inappropriate.

Facebook Makes Your Brain Bigger ? – Church | Social Media

Brain

Recently a study revealed that people on Facebook have more brain matter.

Researchers said:
Scientists have found a direct link between the number of “friends” a person has on Facebook and the size of certain brain regions, raising the possibility that using online social networks might change our brains.
The four brain areas involved are known to play a role in memory, emotional responses and social interactions.

So, if you needed a reason to spend a little time on Facebook there you have it!
Assuming all of us have unchurched friends on Facebook here are some Spiritual things you can do on Facebook to help grow your brain!

1. Create a Prayer List of lost / unchurched people
Why not create a private list on Facebook and put people in it who do not go to church or who are not believers and spend time everyday reviewing their status updates and praying for their salvation. You might be able to pray specifically for a life situation someone is going through that God would use it to bring them to (or back to) Christ.

2. Create a Prayer list of Ministry needs
When you spend time on Facebook why not keep a journal with you and jot down prayer requests when you see people going through difficult times. It is surprising how much people share on Facebook – even detailed health information. Send them a private message and let them know you prayed for them that day.

3. Invite people to church
Instead of putting out a status update that says, “I go to XYZ church and would love for you to visit with me”, why not send a private and personalized invitation.
Send them a message like this: “Bob, I noticed from your Facebook status that things have been kind of rocky in your marriage and family life recently. I do not mean to be nosy but thought I would let you know how my relationship with God has improved my family life. Before I was a believer and started going to church my marriage wasn’t so great…. (expound and end with) My church is offering a marriage workshop and I would love for you and your wife to go with my wife and I.”
You get the idea.

If you spend time on Facebook praying and inviting people to church there is a good chance you will make an eternal impact in someone’s life and get a bigger brain in the process!

Whitney Houston, Superbowl XXV, and YouTube – Church | Social Media

Whitney

This weekend we all heard the news of the tragic death of Whitney Houston. It was the case of a life gone awry – one that any good preacher could pontificate on and make some great applications to the audience. I’ll save that for another day.

If you are a member of my generation and a sports fan there is probably one Whitney Houston moment that stands out above all others – the 1991 Superbowl. The Superbowl between the Giants and Bills was amazing enough in its own right. The 20-19 win by the Giants is the only Superbowl decided by 1 point. It is commonly referred to as the “Wide Right” game as Buffalo kicker, Scott Norwood, missed a last second field goal that would have won the game. It started a string of 4 Superbowl losses for the Bills – a memory they still cannot live down.

However, the greatest moment may have come before the game started when Whitney Houston sang the National Anthem. Ten days before the Superbowl Operation Desert Storm had started and America was in an all out war with Iraq. If you weren’t at least a teenager then you probably wouldn’t understand the tension surrounding the war. There was genuine concern in America on the outcome of the war. We had heard stories of a giant military, sophisticated weaponry, and possible nuclear threats. Now, none of that materialized, but at the time no one knew for sure.

So, when Superbowl XXV started we had been engaged in an all out war for 10 solid days and the sense of angst, combined with patriotism, was at an all time high. Whitney stepped on stage and delivered a rendition of the National Anthem that was legendary.

Consider this:

  • It was backed by the Florida Orchestra
  • It was later released as a single, where it reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the only artist to turn the national anthem into a hit single
  • The single was also reissued after the September 11, 2001 attacks a decade later and charted even higher on the Hot 100, reaching number six
  • Houston’s performance at Super Bowl XXV in 1991, during the Gulf War, is largely regarded as one of the best renditions of the U.S. national anthem in history

And, here is the amazing thing – the moment was captured on video and you can watch it below. There is great power in video. I watch it now and still get teary eyed when I do.

What does this have to do with Church? Social Media? Ministry?

Video is important for the church because it can have the same effect oftentimes. Here are 3 good/quick reasons to have a YouTube channel for your church.

1. It captures the moment

Nothing captures the moment like video. It’s the closest thing to real life we have. You can describe it. Write about it. Remember it. Nothing seizes the moment like video. It’s why parents spent hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars on video cameras when they were first introduced decades ago. We wanted to capture that moment with our children that we would remember for a lifetime.

You have moments at church as well. A service, youth retreat, salvation, event, revival, celebration, building dedication, children’s event, etc. Capture the moment on video and let everyone relive it over and over.

2. It conveys emotions

I still get emotional when I see that video and remember the era. Nothing does that like video. It doesn’t have to be a tear you are trying to capture. It can be joy, laughter, tears, fear, sorrow, excitement, etc. Video has the ability to stir us like nothing else apart from real life.

3. It lasts forever

Memories fade. Dull. Lesson. I can’t say that YouTube will be around forever but here is what I know. I got to watch Whitney perform the National Anthem 21 years later – not just try to remember it. When you capture something on video the people who missed get to watch and the people who experienced it get to relive – for a long time to come.

So, watch the anthem below and know why you should start a YouTube channel at your church.

Can the Church Reach Everyone on the Planet with Social Media? – Church | Social Media

Planet

Recently I ran across this quote on the web about Twitter:

We think we can reach every person on the planet.”
–Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, as quoted by The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog

Imagine that – a social media company has the desire to reach every person on the planet. Twitter wants to get their message out to every nation, tribe, language and people group in the world. They want every person to be able to enjoy the bliss of sharing their lives and thoughts 140 characters at a time. They want everyone to be able to connect with each other and enjoy the community that comes from sharing.

Hmmm…

Doesn’t that sound a lot like the mission of the church?

It seems as if we ought to have more drive, determination, and energy to get our Message out to the world than Twitter does. However, nothing says we can’t go along on their ride. Twitter is one of the tools the church could use to get the message of hte gospel out to their community and to the world.

  • Does your church utilize hashtags?
  • Have you tried to get a local topic trending?
  • Have yo used Twitter to search for ministry and evangelism opportunities in your area?

The ideas are limitless but do not wait to get started. Start somewhere now….today…this week.

Maybe YOU can’t reach everyone in THE world, but you can get the message to everyone in YOUR world!

Use Social Media to enhance your Church Holiday Experience – Church | Social Media

Snowflake

How much do you have going on at Christmas this year at your church? If you are like most churches, your calendar is full of activities for the church, choir, kids, and students. Instead of doing business as normal this year, why don’t you use Social Media and enhance what you already have on your calendar?

Here are a few quick ideas that I hope will inspire others:

1. Video interview the Family your church or Sunday School class is helping

If your church or class is going to help a family(ies) at Christmas why not interview them and post it on YouTube / Facebook /Twitter? If it is a dad who has lost his job and the family cannot afford Christmas how powerful would it be to let him tell his story to the camera? How much more support might you get? If they are leery of the camera, interview them for a Facebook note or for your church blog. If your church is helping kids at a local school with Christmas interview the principal and let her tell the stories. Stories make a huge impact when told first hand.

2. Interview the cast of the Children’s Play

Put 3 or 4 of the cast from the Children’s play in a room with a camera and interview them 20/20 style. Let them tell about learning their lines, practice, etc. It will no doubt be a great watch that the church, family, and community would even enjoy. When you are finished, post it on all your Social Media outlets.

3. Interview the Minister of Music and choir members about the Christmas musical.

Do the same as in #2 and let them talk about what the songs mean to them – how their lives have been touched or impacted by the words and the story of Christmas.

4. Post Snippets of the musical or play

If you can find video online of the play or the songs you will sing in the musical post those everywhere to give people a sneak preview. Don’t post 45 minutes worth, but post 3-6 minutes here and there. Create excitement about the event by giving them a little taste of what’s to come.

5. Keep your Holiday schedule flowing

All churches adjust their schedules around the Christmas season. Keep yours posted and reposted on a regular and consistent basis. You can’t tell them too many times what the changes are.

Those are just a few ideas to get you thinking.

Leave your ideas and comments below…

 

 

 

 

Your Facebook Wall – Dealing with the Dirt

dirty hands

I’m a fairly upbeat and positive guy. I don’t like a lot of negative talk and I don’t like hanging out with folks who whine, complain, and in general have bad attitudes. It probably has to do with all the Zig Ziglar books I read early on in my life and the things I heard him say over and over. One of the best quotes by Zig is,

“We all need a daily check up from the neck up to avoid stinkin ‘thinkin’ which ultimately leads to hardening of the attitudes.”

I don’t want ‘stinkin thinkin’ friends – even if they are on Facebook. And, to be honest, there is a lot of stinkin thinking, posting, commenting, and talking going on with Facebook – and sometimes it will bleed over to your profile wall.

Here is what you need to know about your Facebook wall – IT IS YOUR FACEBOOK WALL!! It is your personal property – you own it.

You do not have to allow anything to go on your wall you don’t want on your wall.

I take great pangs to keep my wall cleaned up and presentable. I view my wall like my living room – when people come to my home I want their first impression of my home to be a good one – because my home is an extension of me. My wife keeps the whole house clean all the time – but the Living room and foyer are never allowed to get cluttered because it is the first thing people see when they come over.

When people look for you on Social Media the first thing most of them see is your Facebook wall – so don’t leave dirt / clutter on your wall. I’m going to give you permission to do what needs to be done – clean up your wall and deal with the dirt.

Here are three things you now have permission to do:

1. Delete any negative post on your wall

Don’t sit around debating on whether or not you should delete the negative or hurtful comment that was made about you, someone else, or something else. It may be in the form of a post or comment on a post – DELETE IT! Do not worry if it is going to hurt someone’s feelings – they obviously didn’t consider that when they posted it on your wall. If you feel you must acknowledge your deletion then send them your reasoning in a private message. It it is stinkin’ thinkin’ and if you don’t like it then get rid of it.

2. Unfriend someone if necessary

This is the “capital punishment” of Facebook right? You have told someone they are not your friend. How could you? I just gave you permission to do it – blame it on me! If there is someone on your friend list that you are constantly having to delete their dirt from your wall then just end it with 1 click.

3. Get the goats and teddy bears out of your living room

I’m on Facebook for church, ministry, and relationship reasons. I’m not on Facebook for Mafia Wars, Teddy Bears, Farms, etc. I don’t need a goat, grenade, machine gun, or a barn - so don’t post it on my wall. I try my best to keep all of that off my wall because I don’t want that to be what people see when they visit.

There you go – you have permission to Deal with the Dirt on your Facebook wall.

What are some of the things you would consider “dirt” on your wall – leave your Facebook comments below.

And, if you Facebook “Like” this post below it will show up on your wall and your friends might get the hint! :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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