In this new era of social networking there is far too many ways to communicate. Within minutes people can know where you are simply by “checking in” or what is on your mind. For many social media is something to avoid, they want to have no digital fingerprint out there. Then there are the many that embrace it and it is an integral part of their daily lives. Look around, on almost any commercial or where a company is trying to market to you there are links to social media. Social media is the wave of the future, and can be used as a tool for ministry.
A couple weeks ago I was talking to one of our Elders that serves on our Communication and Technology Committee. It had to do with how we are perceived in our community and how technology can be used for ministry. This last week this article was released that articulated our thoughts pretty well. It has to do with the attractional model of ministry, where one just expects people to walk into our doors. This is contrary to a missional model, where one goes and brings the church to the community. While we look at attractional vs. missional as a form of evangelism, we need to also apply it to our social media. Do we simply wait for people to find us? Or do we engage in people outside our community through social media?
As I have been pondering the use of Social Media in developing this “New Thing”, I have been trying to sketch out ways to communicate with the people I interact with. Much of my time is out in the community developing relationships with people. Sometimes those conversations could last minutes and others could be much longer. It is highly unlikely that I will get their phone number and address to send them a newsletter of our upcoming events. Then how do I get people to know what we are doing and interact around it?
While I do not dare to say we have created something comprehensive, we are experiencing. Our connection to the community will start with business cards with a catchy web address or QR code simply to get people to our site and information. Developing this new thing will take a lot of communication, and the forms of communication is changing. Being on this new front and trying to be relevant to the community calls for us to use whatever means we have. It may be facebook, oovoo, twitter, instagram, or one of the many other forms out there. The point is we need to be where the people are.
We have found that interaction on Facebook has been key in interacting or gaining exposure to people not associated with us. Last year during Vacation Bible School we had 2500 people looking at our Facebook page. Granted that is not how many people that attended by that is how many attendees and attendee friends/ family saw us. Why would we not want to be effective in bringing that many new and old eyes to what we are doing. The question now becomes what can we do to be more missional about what we are doing. Us going to the community.
Social media has created new avenues of ministry. While we all are trying to figure out how it all works in communicating to the larger community, we need to understand one thing… its not a fad that is going away.