Ministry and Social Media
Whatever your feelings are about it, social media is an important piece of communication that you—and your ministry clients have to get right.

Written By Gary Reinecke

ICF Master Certified Coach, Resource Designer, Mission Strategist : InFocus

You either love social media or you hate it. According to Forbes, 4.9 billion people use social media worldwide. It has become a common daily communication routine. Whatever your feelings are about it, social media is an important piece of communication that you—and your ministry clients have to get right.

As ministry leaders are looking to build and expand the kingdom of God, one of the main questions they face is “how do we reach our context?” This is precisely the question that pastors Casey and Aimee Graves had to wrestle with as they were preparing to launch The Refinery Church.

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Pastor Casey Graves and his family felt the pull from God to plant a church inTemecula, CA. Recently celebrating a year of their first birthday as a church, The Refinery has become a church of over 200 with almost 85 brand new believers and over 20 baptisms. They contribute much of their growth to their social media presence. We had the opportunity to sit down and talk about some of the strategies he and his team use to advance the Kingdom of God in a post christian culture. Here are the top 3 principles we learned from that conversation…

3 Principles for Ministries on Social Media 

 

1. Consider the Questions 

If you are considering social media an avenue for keeping your congregation informed, think bigger. Think about who might come across your posts, what questions they may have, and how you can use social media to answer them. Sharing content that is meaningful to people’s lives—that answers questions they may not even be asking aloud—gets people to stop and listen in to what you have to say.

Social media does not have to be a place where you turn on a screen and scroll past without taking anything in; it can be a place where you find truth, meaning, and a community. It can be a place where you can ask the hard questions and find answers that you haven’t been able to find for most of your life. 

Pastor Casey actively works to provide an answer in his social media posts to questions like the following. What kinds of visuals might answer these questions for your context?

  • What is your church like?
  • What are the pastors like?
  • What does life look like as a Christian?
  • What does God think about me?

2. Build Relationships

Social media can be a tool used for good when it is focused not on numbers but on moving past the screen and into the hearts of those who are seeking. Real, honest to goodness relationships can be built online. It starts with engagement—people liking and commenting on your posts—and responding to every single person who engages. 

Pastor Casey spent significant time and efforts employing this strategy when preparing to launch his church plant. When it comes to online engagement, your coach training provides you with a leg up on the competition—the flood of posts people are scrolling through. 

  • Listening is key. Noting the kinds of posts the person is engaging with and the way they choose to engage can help you identify areas of interest and assess level of readiness. 
  • Ask good questions. Open-ended questions encourage conversation. Leading questions will shut the conversation down and possibly get you blocked.
  • Follow-up. But keep in mind that, just like when coaching, the most powerful decisions and moves are ones made by the individual. 

3. Cultivate Multipliers

One of the pitfalls of social media is the pull towards a high number of followers. Pastor Casey was adamant to express how the goal is not followers but multipliers who will expand the Kingdom of God. In discipleship this means teaching people to help others along their journey. In social media, this means creating content that other people will want to share with others. 

When people share your content your reach is multiplied to include everyone who is following the person who shared. That content is powerful when it is more than an event announcement. When what is shared actually speaks to questions that address people’s everyday lives from a faith perspective or even answering deep spiritual questions—you are actually engaging with them in a new form of discipleship. Do you see the potential?

Coaching leaders to leverage social media

Remain curious

Social media is overwhelming on a number of levels and it’s tempting to want to give up on it. Instead, model curiosity and help your client stay curious.

Missional goals

SMART goals specific to social media that connect with the mission, vision, and values of the ministry create a guide for posts and engagement.  

Challenge

Ask questions to challenge your client in this arena. If they are unfamiliar with social media, unpack why it is challenging for them.

Educate

Read, ask questions, and learn the basics of the primary social media platforms. Identify the pro’s and con’s and primary demographics and use for each platform.

Experiment

Learning how to best use social media takes time. Even for the experts. It takes constant tweaking to make sure that you are reaching who you are trying to reach, saying what you are meaning to say, and curating a message that is impactful. Try controlled experiments using social media. 

Resource

Most leaders don’t manage their social media accounts themselves but hire help. Collect resources and identify people in your network who can help in the areas of creating, editing, strategizing, and engagement.

More Resources

Communication Profile: This simple tool helps your clients learn where they can improve in their communication skills so you can walk them through developing this essential skill. 

Learning Styles: Knowing how to walk with someone as they develop a new skill raises your effectiveness and expedites the process.

Creativity and Innovation: Every person has the potential to be creative and improve skills in this critical area. This simple booklet walks through a proven process to build creativity and innovation.

Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash

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