MINNESOTA – How effectively a church communicates with its members can often determine how effective they are in their different areas of ministry. With social media so prevalent in today’s society, it is something that can be used as an effective way to build communication in your church, resulting in more positive ministry experiences. So while churches are scrambling to stay up to date with the latest technology trends or social media crazes, I’ve come up with six creative ways to incorporate social media into your church that you might not have thought about yet.
Got a junior high/middle school camp coming up? Is registration due this Sunday for the youth group fall conference? Did an urgent prayer request just come through to the church that needs to get out quickly? If you’ve ever said yes to any of these, then the Remind app is for you. While built as a website for schools, it can just as easily be translated to churches. If you visit www.remind.com it’s easy and free to sign up. The website allows you to sign up (again, for free) and send out remind text messages to groups of people. You can send out messages as often or as little as you want. When you type in the message, it sends it as a text message to anyone who wants. Since most phone plans have unlimited texting these days, it’s free to receive texts, too.
Facebook Live Feeds
Can’t make it to church Sunday morning? Why not bring church to you! Sometimes circumstances don’t allow you to be at church. Whether you’re recovering from a recent surgery or enjoying a family vacation a thousand miles away, having a live feed of your service gives you the feeling of being right there. While podcasts are great, live feeds are where it’s at! Facebook provides one of the easiest avenues to provide a live feed to your service to those who can’t otherwise attend. The only downside here is trying to get your 90-year-old grandma connected to Facebook!
Amongst the writing world, guest blogging seems to be one of the most innovative and up and coming trends out there. The owner/author of a website has someone write an article for them and in turn that person brings in a new crowd or audience to that website, creating a bigger traffic flow. In blogging, the bigger your target audience is the better off your website and blogging career tend to be. You can use the same concept to build your church. Have a featured member write a little about themselves.
Naturally they’ll have all their friends, relatives and even coworkers checking them out on the church's website. As they’re looking, they scroll through other areas like upcoming events and different types of ministries and outreaches. In doing so, this creates a buzz and interest in what the church is doing. In addition to reaching a completely different audience, it helps build community within the church.
Youth Group Scavenger Hunts
If you have a group of youth leaders who are all connected via Google Drive(as simple as having a Gmail account), then you can have an interactive scavenger hunt. Give each team five minutes to get to their destination and then upload the list of things they need to find. Each youth leader will have access as soon as it’s put into Google Drive. You can upload pictures onto the drive and have them shared with the youth leaders. If you ever need pictures for a slideshow, then you’ve already got them in your Google Drive. If you want to take it a step farther, you can upload a random task every couple of minutes and have your youth members complete the task, again with proof of picture. A sample scavenger hunt might look like:
6:00-6:04 – Pump someone’s gas.
6:04-6:08 – Hold the door open for someone.
6:08-6:10 – Get a picture of a stranger’s driver’s license.
6:10-6:13 – Pick up a piece of litter and put it in a nearby trash can.
Every couple of minutes you would put in a new task for each team to do. If they upload a picture in the time frame given, they are awarded points. With Google Drive, everything is saved with a timestamp so the pressure is on to meet the time constraints. You can make the hunt as hard, or easy as you want depending on your youth group needs.
Our church’s secretary, Alison, does a great job of sending out a list of who is working in different areas of children’s ministry each week. She really is great at sending reminders to everyone. From toddlers to little kids to infants, each person knows each week where they’re working in advance. While our church uses it mostly with children’s ministry, having a Facebook group is a great and easy way get the word out and keep everyone connected. Tagging people as a reminder of when they’re scheduled goes a long way in making sure you’re covered.
Calendar of Events
Similar to using Gmail and Google Drive for your scavenger hunt, anyone in your church who uses them can be connected to an online, interactive calendar of events. Instead of having to log into a computer, go to the church's website and scroll through to find a calendar, you can use a Google calendar to keep everyone informed of all those upcoming events. From Bible studies and camps to choir practice and upcoming baptisms, you can keep everyone connected through one Gmail church calendar.
Consider exploring apps based on needs of your church or group. Slack is a wonderful app for churches and small groups, community groups, etc. as it functions like a private social site. Social media use is such as great way to not only grow but connect your church with communication. Social media extends past websites such as Facebook and Twitter and goes into simply using 21st century communication avenues. Many times these communication avenues are great fun and will help your church to connect in an exciting way. Don’t be afraid to use such avenues to help reach the world for Christ!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J. Allen has a heart for reaching today’s youth. He is a teacher, coach, and sports advocate. He also writes from deep in the wilderness for Lights UP North, a source of encouragement and inspiration.