Facebook has more than 400 million active users, 50% of which long onto Facebook in any given day (Facebook Press Room). There is an incredible value in being a part of a network that stretches across the world, yet draws together people of similar interests and backgrounds. Lots of us enjoy reconnecting with old friends, staying in touch with family, and playing the many games and pastimes available. Have you considered how to naturally use Facebook to be a blessing to your church? Here are some ideas to accomplish and some things to avoid.
– Talk about your church. Just as we talk about everything else going on in our lives, there is great reason to talk about your church. Especially focus on things that are an encouragement or help to you. Leave notes on your fellow church – members’ pages letting them know some way that they’ve blessed you. It is likely that someone reading may think that perhaps they could be blessed at your church too. Avoid talking only about your church. Avoid also being critical of other churches in order to try to make yours look better. That doesn’t work.
– Join Your Church’s Group. Every church should have a Facebook group – and be sure that you are on yours. This is a good way to get information about what’s going on. It’s also a good way for others to keep in touch with what’s happening at your church. UPDATE: Friend Adam Gonerman rightly suggested that Facebook groups have faded in popularity, replaced by Facebook Fan pages. Thanks Adam!
– Share events at your church. Have a special class about to start? Perhaps some kind of felt-need event is about to happen? Guest speakers? Those are of interest. You could even set up an events page and ask people to indicate their intention of attendance. These are not too reliable, but they offer information, websites, and pictures. In some cases the only information someone may see about the event will be on Facebook. One church I know recently had a big event but it was never mentioned on Facebook. I follow several of their members and no one mentioned it. Mistake! Avoid over promotion of these events to the point that people just hope they’re over soon so they do not have to see another status update about them.
– Like and Share items of interest from other members of your church. When your minister publishes an invite to a certain event you can help get the word out by sharing it on your page and by liking it. Recently I have posted some video previews of my upcoming sermons. Members of my church could share those and the people in their network would see them. Perhaps a class has a project that they’re working on – help them spread the word about the needs they may have. Avoid endless shares – be picky and specific in your own mind about why you’re sharing this event/idea.
– Be Geninue. Too often people with good intentions will use their network like a megaphone – shouting out events and news. People shouting in megaphones do not receive communication. Put down the megaphone and be genuinely interested in the lives of other people. If there is no interaction and enjoyment, then the probability is that you will be ignored (or unfriended). Be yourself.
– Connect. Please exercise common sense here, but do connect with people somewhere off the screen. Perhaps lunch after worship would be a great way to get to know someone. I’ve enjoyed meeting several people from our community that I ‘met’ on Facebook and Twitter. Many of them already go to their own church, but I didn’t just become their friend to evangelize them – I am interested in them as people. Always connect with others in public and in groups of friends (as if I need to tell you this!).
– Follow Locals. Watch your friends’ lists and follow local people. It’s neat to follow people around the world, but there is joy in following local people that you might actually get to meet! Twitter makes this a bit easier than Facebook, but that’s another post!
What are some other ideas you have? Let’s limit them to Facebook in this post! Thanks!