Pastors and Lay leaders, do you use technology for your ministry? If you are reading this, then you at very least read some blogs for ideas to help you out or to get encouragement from. How about social networking? Do you use Myspace, Facebook, Twitter…? What good are these mediums? Part of the answer to that question lies in the target demographic of your ministry. If the average person in your congregation and in the group you are attempting to reach still jumps on a chair when someone refers to a “mouse” then there is probably little gain to be achieved from using any web based social networking…stick to the potluck dinners. However, if you are a leader in a church with a slightly more computer literate society in mind, then you might be wondering how you can make this work.
WARNING! Social networking online cannot replace social networking in real life! You must still meet people in person where they are in the air breathing part of the planet.
That said, it can be a great tool for keeping up with your people. Many pastors find great success in blogging to let the people in their congregation know what is on their hearts and minds. Parishioners appreciate this very open and transparent view into their pastor’s heart. Sites like Facebook, which have traditionally been great for youth pastors or pastors of churches with a very young demographic is now fair game for anyone pastoring or leading any age ministry. A good many of my “facebook friends” are people I know in real life who are in their 60′s and 70′s. The fastest growing group of users for facebook and twitter is in the over 35 group.
There is no perfect way to use the site. It can be used as much or as little as you and your staff have time for. Facebook can be a great way to send out notices of upcoming events! It is sort of like micro-permission marketing in that anyone receiving the invite is someone who has chosen to be your “friend”. Have fun and experiment with the different tools that are out there. Having a power driver doesn’t mean you throw away all your screwdrivers, it just gives you another option. In the same way, using Facebook, Myspace or Twitter, shouldn’t replace your traditional networking skills, but should be used to enhance them. Have fun!