3 Ways Churches Can Use Facebook Well

My primary work is helping authors with their social media, but as anyone who works in social media will tell you, when you work in social media, you get questions from all kinds of people.

One of the groups that asks me questions most often is local churches. Church leaders often have a dozen good, relevant questions about social media, but one of the most common is simple this: “How should I use Facebook?”

To many (especially young people), that may seem like a simple question. But for church leaders who spend the majority of their days trying to counsel hurting people and prepare for weekly church events, Facebook strategy is one of their least concerns.

Here are three basic ways I think churches can cut through the complexity and use Facebook well:

1. Share gospel content.

Anyone who spends any amount of time on social media can attest: social media can be a dark place more often than not.

For many Christians, this has made them leave social media platforms altogether—they simply cannot justify willingly coexisting with such darkness. I get that.

At the same time, I think the common darkness of social media creates an even stronger case for Christians to be involved in these online spaces.

One of the best ways a church can use its Facebook presence is to share encouraging, gospel content such as blog posts, Scripture, or sermon videos. This lets the church shine the light of the gospel in the darkness of social media conversations.

2. Create gospel conversations.

When churches share gospel content on Facebook, gospel conversations often result. Whether in the comment sections, privately via private messages, or offline, churches can create gospel conversations with a healthy Facebook presence.

If you’re unsure about what to post on your church’s Facebook page, just post Scripture or ask people for prayer requests. Know that Facebook’s algorithm favors videos and images, so the more of those you post, the better. But, creating gospel conversations usually starts with sharing gospel content.

Along these same lines, be sure to avoid unnecessarily controversial content. Yes, the gospel is going to be offensive to some people no matter what, and you’ll have to deal with conflict of that kind at some point. But church Facebook pages need not be a battleground for political or cultural skirmishes. This often does more harm than good.

3. Buy Facebook ads.

Stop.

Breathe.

You may be thinking, “The church doesn’t need to do any marketing! The gospel is attractive enough itself!” Ok. I understand. But hear me out.

If you’re spending hundreds of dollars on paper flyers to post a coffee shops or post cards to put in mailboxes, I would contend that your money would be better spent on purchasing Facebook ads.

When used correctly, Facebook ads allow your church to reach people in your communities more effectively than paper flyers or post cards, and with less hassle.

Really, buying a Facebook ad really just amounts to you promoting a piece of content on Facebook so that it can be seen by more people in your community that use Facebook and may be interested in checking out your church.

But, buying Facebook ads and figuring out the best audience to which you should boost your content can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing.

A while back, I announced that I’m launching a new service through LifeWay called LifeWay Social. The purpose of LifeWay Social is to help Christian leaders, including local church leaders, better use social media to serve other people.

Next week, the LifeWay Social site will launch. I’m super excited.

If you want to stay aware of the latest regarding LifeWay Social, join the email list here. I only email you once a week. I promise I won’t annoy you.

 

Announcing: LifeWay Social

In the last six months or so, one of the most popular topics in Christian conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and otherwise has been how Christians conduct themselves on the internet.

Should Christians care about being “verified” by Twitter?

Should pastors be paying social media consultants thousands of dollars to pad their Facebook page likes?

What is an online “platform?” What is “influence” in a world in which everyone can look professional and important?

A lot of the talk about Christians building their online presences has been negative, rightly dissuading Christians from building a platform on anything but actual expertise and experience in a given field.

But, unfortunately, in a lot of the social media discussion about platform, the overwhelming negativity has made it seem as though building an online presence is an inherently self-focused enterprise.

Without a doubt, too many of us sacrifice our humility on the altar of our online personas.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Self-Focused v. Service-Focused

The Church can engage in the digital space for the building up of the whole body instead of the promotion of the self. We have the ability to serve, not relentlessly self-promote.

God has given us all gifts and interests meant for the building up of the body of Christ and the proclamation of the gospel throughout the world.

Some of us have gifts of writing, speaking, or similar abilities that translate well into social media, blogs, podcasts, and other digital avenues.

It is our responsibility, as followers of Jesus, proclaimers of His gospel, and lovers of His people, to use those gifts for the service of others rather than the service of ourselves.

That’s why LifeWay Social exists.

The Aim of LifeWay Social

LifeWay Social is for hopeful authors, church communications leaders, non-profit social media directors, and anyone else who wants to discover more effective and efficient ways to use social media for kingdom good.

LifeWay Social does not exist to make anyone rich or famous. LifeWay Social exists to help people use their gifts in the digital space to serve other people. We aren’t promising riches, fame, or book contracts to anyone.

We simply see a need. We see Christians wrestling with how to use social media in constructive ways while avoiding prideful pursuits of baseless platforms and get-influence-quick schemes.

God has gifted a lot of people in ways that can be used online to shine the light of the gospel in a very dark place.

We just want to come alongside people in that.

5 Ways to Grow Your Online Presence Without Selling Your Soul

Along those lines, we’re offering a free PDF called “5 Ways to Grow Your Online Presence Without Selling Your Soul” to anyone who joins the LifeWay Social email list.

When you join the email list, you’ll just be receiving one email every Thursday at 9am CT/10am ET with social media, blogging, and video tips.

I’ve been sending this out for a year to some friends and colleagues, and we’re opening it up for LifeWay Social. The weekly email is called “Content Made Simple.”

Try it out. Unsubscribe if you hate it. I won’t be offended.

LifeWay Social launches in fall 2017, and subscribing to the email list is the best way to keep up with us as we near the launch.

Click here to learn more about LifeWay Social and get your free “5 Ways to Grow Your Online Presence Without Selling Your Soul” PDF. 

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