Every month I send emails out to gather support. Not everyone will see the vision I have and embrace it as eagerly as my current partners and friends. It’s an art to write authentic emails that wrap my vision around the vision God has placed on a church I am contacting. Social media affects every church and ministry and every person whether they want it to or not. With 3.2 billion people on the internet out of the 7 billion worldwide, the church should jump at the thought of using a tool that is free for online evangelism, missions, and discipleship. This is not always the case for whatever reason.
Let me go over four myths:
- Only Church Leadership Should Do Marketing Ministry: A medium church has a staff of 5 people. Your church has 350 attendants. Typically, unless you are a mega-church, your administrator or pastor doubles as social media marketer. How many people in your congregation make up the 1.57 billion people on Facebook? Why aren’t you training them? What do you train them on? How do you create a team of missions/evangelism-focused individuals who can be mentored by experienced past or present pastors or missionaries? Merely posting announcements is not good enough. You must engage the people on your page. You must use social media to talk to people and teach your congregation to talk to people.
- “I Only Support (Insert Your Favorite Denomination Here).” While I do not agree with denominational prejudice, you should look for someone in the field of social media and technology to support or consider pioneering the use of technology and social media who is in your denomination whom you can support. Consider your neighborhood? Does your church have a strong presence in it? Or is it dwarfed by other belief systems? Implement a social media strategy. Consider this part of planting churches, running ministry, and doing church.
- “I Hate Smart Phones. No One Has Conversations Anymore.” The church is great at publishing stories that scare people away from using social media. We are experts at why we shouldn’t use social media, but most who talk against it are barely using it (if at all). The conversations are happening. They don’t look like the conversations you have; different isn’t necessarily evil. Granted, balance does need to come back into the online and face-to-face world. Who will show an example of that balance if you are not going where the conversations are happening?
- “I Don’t Need a Missions Course; I’m Not Going Overseas.” Social Media is global. Unfortunately, some of the missions courses aren’t packaging their courses to be applied domestically and internationally. Americans can offend another culture online and be blocked if they don’t learn about that culture first like missionaries do. Who are the people groups in your area? Have you searched that information online, taken a long drive or a walk in your community, or taken a course at a university or college to understand how many of the students come from other countries?
Support is secondary as to why I want to talk to your church. Your church’s hopes, dreams, and vision are mine, too. What I do is as important to you as it is to what God has me doing. Let me talk to you even if support is not available. Church isn’t about self-service. It isn’t about your programs. It isn’t about the music. Our passion for those things should be less than the passion to reach the lost with the truth and love of the Gospel.
The creative possibilities are endless with how a church can use social media to put into practice the vision that God has placed there. What are the barriers and how can they be overcome? What is stopping you from being more strategic online?