I am teaching a seminar in two weeks on “How churches can and should use the web for ministry?” It’s something I am thinking a lot about lately. Somehow ministry has to move from Sunday mornings, small groups and other church events into mainstream life. I don’t even know what this looks like, but consider some of the following.
Media is consuming a significant percentage of people’s time.
Netflix and other streaming services are up. Regular TV programing is down. Social media platforms and other forms of digital communication are getting a large percentage of people’s time. Smart phones are becoming the norm. The largest percentage of people are online most of the time. It seems to me that there is some kind of a mission field here.
Businesses are using the digital world to sell everything from shavers to sex.
People can get almost everything online. Some, maybe even a lot of online content is good. And then there is the bad content. A lot of what is online is robbing us of true intimacy, trust, friendship, and interaction.
Years ago, there was a line in a song that asked the question, “Why does the devil have all the good music?” I can’t remember one word from the rest of the song, however at the time I thought it was a great question. Sometimes it seems like the digital world is the devil’s playground. There is also a lot of good content and conversation going on online. Let’s add good content! It’s important to use the communication tools of our day for relationship building and ministry. It’s part of the reason I think pastors should think about using Facebook and other social media platforms both personally and for ministry.
What would it look like to use some of these digital tools to connect with people? Maybe even direct people’s attention to the more noble things of life? It’s not like having a cup of coffee with someone, but it is a connection point with others.
We (I) can do better.
Here are points about how to have an effective online strategy.
- An online blog is a great way invite people back to your website over and over again. Its surprising more churches don’t have a blog. Company websites with blogs get 56% more traffic that those with a website alone. I wonder how this statistic might inform churches and ministries?
- Facebook has over 1 billion users. The average active Facebook user spends 15 minutes a day on Facebook. Using Facebook effectively is absolutely essential. Be strategic about what you post, your posting schedule, and how you interact with friends. Make sure Facebook is a two-way conversation. This means interacting with others and posting encouraging comments. You need to come up with strategic plans for how to more effectively use your ministry pages.
- Pastors can’t do it all. They often don’t have the time, energy, or experience to fully develop an online plan for ministry. Most churches have a gifted people who can take this on. I encourage you to develop a small team to help develop your online strategy. Develop the guidelines for what this looks like, but have the team help you build an effective online presence.
There’s more thoughts where these came from, but this is a start.
I am hoping to hear more over time on how other people are using their websites and social media tools for ministry. I am especially interested hearing about your successes and failures in online ministry via your website or social media platforms. If you have some thoughts feel free to comment below.