As the author of a new E-book on using Twitter for churches, I’m clearly biased towards leveraging social networks. But when I was asked to give a short description of how it helps the church, you’ll now hear me quoting Sam Rainer(son of the famous church research guru Thom Rainer). He said:
“In short, social media enhances personal communication in the church. Some will use it to hide from personal face-to-face communication. Others will use it excessively and annoy everyone around them. And others will see it as a tool and use it on mission for God.” – Sam Rainer on his blog post about five significant trends of American churches
That is the best way to describe the value of social media for (and in) churches!
If given the chance to expand on my thoughts (and Sam’s quote), I’d also bring up a few additional points.
Social Networks allow for fast – sometimes immediate – communication
- Change in venue? Let everyone know via Twitter
- Want to share pics of that church event? Flikr and/or Facebook
- Keeping up with small groups? Facebook & Roov
- Online meeting for brainstorming or staff meetings? TokBox
- It’s impossible for medium to large churches to keep up with everyone – even with a ChMS solution. Enter social networking sites.
- Beyond email, fast updates and quick snapshots of each other keep us abreast of life changes.
- Tweetups – meeting of people who Tweet (Twitter) at a local venue.
- Social networking keeps small groups up-to-date between meetings.
- Sharing from our own lives compels people to share from their lives, too.
- Helping answer questions and asking questions of our own provides not only answers but relationship opportunities.
Access is as limited or as open as I choose
- I can share deeply about something in my life or keep things light and topical.
- Sharing prayers – and offering prayers for others – online is powerful!
- I don’t have to follow people on Twitter or Facebook. I control what I receive and send.
- Private (non public) accounts are easy to set up in every social networking tool online. You don’t have to be on a public timeline.
What other benefits have you found from leveraging social networking for church and ministry?