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I spend a lot of time thinking about what I wish church were like.  Usually it is a lot more daydreaming than critical thinking.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if church were like a party?  Now, before you jump to conclusions, hear me out.  I am not talking about some crazy, get the cops called kind of party (but wouldn’t that be a sight to see).  I am talking more about a party of old friends.  I imagine a very close knit community, a place where everyone is excited to see everyone else.  Some of you might think it is like that already, but we all know that most people (if they are being honest) have at least one person that they try to avoid on Sunday mornings.  What would a church filled with genuine friendships look like?  I think it looks like a party.  And I think that is a lot like what heaven will look like, one giant party of best friends reuniting because of a common thing—our Savior.  So why can we not have that every time that we get together?  Why should we have to wait?  I have been thinking a lot about reconciliation.

Colossians 1:17-20  “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”  Reconciliation is so important to God that he sent his son to reconcile all things, and how many times do we forget about reconciliation?  This is why churches are not all big parties, because not everyone is reconciled.  But, in heaven we will be, and that is why it will be a party, a party revolving around Christ.  We will reunite because of him and he holds all things together.  We should be looking to him, the head of the body.

If we reconcile ourselves to all those around us, in order to come closer to Christ, and become a focused part of the body, then my dream can become a reality and church will be a big party of the best friends we have ever had.  And when church is a party, who does not want to be a part?  Who will not want to join in?

Here’s a survey I created to know more about my readers and more about their views on church.  I would love it if you would take the time to answer these ten short questions

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/S7M7CGV

Once you decide to use social media, you must decide how you are going to use it.  With social media being such a big trend in the world today, churches need to embrace it.  A recent “Lookout” article stated that “the mutual mission of community building makes churches and social media a natural fit.”  Where it may be seen as such an obvious fit for a church, the approach to social media must be approached like any other ministry outreach of the church.

Before entering into the ministry of social media, the church should consider a few questions in advance:

  1. What are you trying to accomplish through your social media program?  How will you measure your goals?
  2. What will your church be able to do through social media that the church would otherwise not be able to achieve?  What needs does it fulfill?
  3. What resources will you need in order to start and maintain the social media program?  Consider additional time, talent, and funds that will be needed.
  4. Most importantly, how will God be honored through your churches use of social media?

Here are some suggestions for how your church can approach social media.  Firstly, a Facebook page is becoming more and more common for all brands.  This is a good way to post information and to gain information about interest in your church.  Secondly, Twitter is now the leading “microblogging” site.  Twitter can be utilized by churches by encouraging real-time feedback, share links, blog posts, announcements, and other interesting information.  Youtube can be used to upload videos to a churches channel.  The benefits of this is wide access and interest.  Links can be sent via Twitter and Facebook to encourage traffic between all of your networks.  Churches also have the option to start a blog.  “When a blog is built into a church’s main website, it can help the site’s search engine optimization through its natural supply of keywords” (Lookout).  Finally, one platform that many more churches are using is podcasting.  Churches are using podcasts to post their sermons for many people to listen to.

So how do you start your social media plan?  It is important to remember that “social media must complement and enhance your ongoing communications and methods of outreach.”  Most churches will need a full social media team in order to successfully utilize social media.  Social media must be frequently updated.  Social media must be open to feedback.  Social media must have clear guidelines and expectations.  Ultimately social media must be simple and clear or people will get lost in the mess.  Social media should be an extension of your church and not a separate part.

Frequency is the key to effective social media.  Most people suggest these guidelines:

  • Blog once a week (200-500 words per post)
  • Update Facebook information two to three times a week (include images when possible)
  • Tweet one to two times a day (can be used more, but don’t over-do it)

I think this quote expresses the key to why a church should use social media: “It is a lot less intimidating to go online and experience a church than it is for people to walk through the doors of one.”  People often find walking into a church they know nothing about very intimidating.  A churches’ social media presence is now often a person’s “first look” into that church.  It can communicate so much to an interested person and depending on how social media is used, that message can be a positive one (“I’m interested in knowing more, maybe I’ll go see what it’s all about”) or a negative one (“I don’t think I even want to try that one”).  Ultimately, social media is simply “a very remarkable tool that when used well can bring God’s people together.”