Unfortunately… and I can only speak for the United Methodist Church, but our UM Communications and, in Illinois, our Conference Communication team make the church look old-fashioned (that’s honest, mostly, I suppose) and they move too slowly and carefully. Worse, they focus on communications rather than relationships! Our denominations are stymied and they make us look terrible (recently at our annual charge conference we were shown a video of our bishop that made him look like a used car salesman, oh- and the district office couldn’t provide my church a digital copy when asked!!!). But at the local church level and in our own communities we can now accomplish bigger things than they are even capable of with social media. Our reach can be effective in our local communities (even the most rural) and they can grow our local, walled churches… yet our reach can also,now, go well beyond our local communities and walled churches. When we effectively use the internet, social media, and blogging we can share faith, touch lives, and experience community in places that we never before dreamed possible.
- Make sure you have Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts and (and this is the really important part) grow your presence:
- Work hard to cultivate a following by:
- posting often
- posting quality and relational materials
- try not to use insider language
- continually adding friends / followers
- Look at other accounts / pages / walls / feeds and share interesting items
- Don’t be afraid to share personal things about yourself (within safety and reason). Use these avenues as a way to foster relationships!
- Get a blog account!!!
- There are several sites that can help you, I especially recommend: Blogger (by Google, just use your Google user/pass) or WordPress.
- Get your blog and social media accounts connected to your webpage. It makes your page more dynamic and personal.
- Share your blog by social media. It turns 140 characters into a full and on-going narrative.
- I can’t emphasize this enough: don’t be afraid to share your own personal stories, yet connect them to your faith.
- Keep it short. Think in terms of a 1/2 to full page of paper at most when you write your blog! (This blog post is pushing the limit)
- Keep your eyes peeled for new ways to connect online. If lots of people are using 4square or LinkedIn, etc…then go where the people are.
Paul used tent making to build relationships, John Wesley went out to the masses in England preaching in fields and cemeteries…I don’t know what it will look like entirely yet, but we have to find new venues and ways to build relationships and share our faith story! Now, in 2012, we must be a Pentecost people! We must feel the Holy Spirit as it enlivens us to share our faith and we must speak the languages that God is giving us the gift to speak. It is our time and our new and exciting world. Let’s share our faith as disciples of Christ!!!