How is your congregation doing with social media?
Over the past year I’ve been having conversations with UUs across the United States on the use of social media in the context of our ministry and congregational life. There are so many issues raised by the introduction of social media into our ministry equation. At first, social networking was a novelty. Today, its woven into the fabric of modern life. What does this mean for your congregation? That’s an easy one!
People have questions, concerns, and want to talk about it.
If you are a minister or worship leader, I hope you’ll consider offering a Fall worship service exploring social media, ministry and associated issues. Me? I’m adding this to my Fall line-up of guest speaking topics. This is too vital of a conversation to not have in the context of your primary worship service.
Seven Reasons to Preach on Social Media
Here are seven reasons why I think you should have a Social Media themed worship service this coming year.
- “Offline UUs” need to understand why today you MUST have some sort of social media presence to stay relevant.
- A service can promote existing use of social media inviting members and friends to connect with the congregation online.
- If you aren’t using social networks yet, this can serve to launch the conversation or your new social media campaign.
- If you don’t “do social media” officially, members and friends will eventually start sharing your news unofficially. Regardless of whether you are ready to “go there” yet, at least start the conversation. This may bring your best internet volunteers forward.
- There are benefits to social media, but it is important to address issues of privacy, safety and other concerns.
- To fully benefit from these tools it can be very helpful to let members and friends know the value of sharing your content with their friends.
- Done right, social media can greatly enhance your ministry, outreach efforts and lead to growth!
Is using Social Media mandatory?
I think it is. Once upon a time social media tools were a new fun thing we could take or leave. Now they are integral parts of how we communicate, make decisions and relate with one another. If you aren’t using them, your congregation is rapidly becoming a dinosaur.
Please don’t go extinct! We need you. That is, unless you’re unwilling to change with the times. If you want to take an early retirement and move to Newport, RI I have a great house to sell you!
Build a Communications Team
Fortunately you don’t have to be an expert in all things tech! You just need to make sure that the issues are explored, the right tools chosen, and a great team is in place managing them. Depending on where you congregation is, the time following the service can be used to offer programming addressing whatever your next step needs to be.
A very likely next step for many congregations is to form a communications team. We have too many communication channels these days to not have a great team coordinating the congregations efforts. Just think of the ways we can communicate within and promote congregations today:
- Your amazing website
- E-Newletters and Email Communications
- Worship Bulletins
- Print Newsletters
- Bulletin Boards
- Audio & Video Podcasts
- Newspaper ads
- Television ads
- Ads on Google, Facebook and other top websites
- Facebook fanpages
- Twitter accounts
- Youtube Channels
- Comment below to share other channels you are using (or not!)
If you aren’t on top of social media, seriously consider a multi-faceted communications team. Give me a buzz if you’d like to discuss what we could do together to move your congregation forward. I often lead programs in conjunction with a service. We can raise issues and then follow up with a workshop, seminar or small group exploration.
If you do decide to address Social Media in a service, send me a link to your text, audio or video sermon.