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Social Networks and The Church (Intro)

iStock_000016096732XSmall_jpg One of the most frequent questions I get is “should our church have a Facebook page?” Clearly the question could and probably should be expanded. “Should our church use social networks?” One of the biggest drivers of internet adoption and use by all ages, genders and races is its social nature. The web has gotten a lot more friendly lately…or at least a lot more social.

The question used to be “should my church have a website?” I don’t get that one anymore thank goodness. However that question was easier to answer. Yes. Period. Yesterday. Asking if your church should have a website is akin to asking if your church needs a church sign on the front lawn. The answer to the social network question isn’t as straightforward. That is why I’m going to take the next few weeks…or maybe months… to try and tackle this one.

So where to start? How about with the ministry of your church? Why does it exist? What is its purpose, goals, objectives? If you can’t answer that then forget the social network question altogether. I would imagine however that most churches at least have a pretty good idea of what they should be up to. Common answers in no particular order would be outreach with the gospel, mutual encouragement, support of those in need, fellowship, bible study, worship, administration of sacraments (Lord’s Supper and Baptism), service projects and so on. So the real question is could any of those purposes/objectives be met by the use of social networks? That answer is easier. Yes. Now the hard part. Which ones and how? Both which social network and which objective.

My approach to this series will be to examine the major social networks with an eye toward their ultimate usefulness for specific ministry purposes AND some great resources for how to implement them. We’ll look at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and a few others you may not have even considered a social network or heard of.

To get us started I’d like to point you to a couple of excellent resources that I’ll be highlighting in more detail in future posts specifically about Facebook:

Facebook for Churches ebook (An excellent basic resource including examples of churches putting Facebook to good use.)

WELSTech Episode – All About Facebook (A podcast that deals with Technology and Ministry topics focuses a show on Facebook and interviews Josh Renner who has found a good niche for Facebook usage to spread the Gospel).

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