How to Use Social Media to Launch a New Ministry

There's Never Been A Better Time

There has never been a better time to launch a ministry than right now. You don’t necessarily need a special education or licence or the official backing of a pre-established ministry. All you really need is a desire to impacting this world for God’s Kingdom, and the commitment it takes to put out good, solid content.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m all for education. I’m all for having the full support of an established ministry to back you. But I’m also keenly aware of the fact that sometimes that’s just not possible. Sometimes, due to circumstances in life, some people just are not able to acquire a full education in Christian (discipleship? pastoral? evangelism? mission? church planting?) whatever.

And I’m also convinced that you shouldn’t let circumstances prevent you from fulfilling the call God has on your life.

If that call is itinerate preaching, awesome.

If it’s writing, perfect.

If it’s evangelism, wonderful!

Whatever you feel called to, let me offer a quick strategy on how you can use social media to launch your new ministry.

Why Content Consistency Matters More Than You Think

Consistency over Frequency

I’ve been using social media in one form or another since about 2003. But I really got into it around 2007 when I opened my Facebook page and in 2009 I began my first semi-serious blog. Since then I’ve learned two very important lessons: 1) without consistency you cannot have impact, 2) being consistent is hard work.

Here’s what I’ve noticed about posting on social media. When I post on a regular and consistent basis my interactions go up, my followers go up, an my reach goes up.

And I’ve noticed the exact opposite is true. When I post sporadically and occasionally my reach drops, people unfollow me and nobody engages with my content.

In other words, providing consistent content increases your influence while posting inconsistently decreases your influence.

Christians love Twitter more than Bieber fans!

So why is your church not Tweeting?

Justin Bieber is kind of a train wreck these days. But he’s a train wreck with over 65 million Twitter followers. For better or for worse, that’s a lot of influence. But what most people don’t know when they look at those numbers is that vanity metrics – the sheer volume of followers – doesn’t really matter. Quality over quantity wins every time. Consider Joyce Meyer.

We’re gonna step back because the article I’m about to cite hasn’t been updated in a few years, but the study still speaks volumes.

FellowshipOne released a study which sought to compare interactions – people who *like*, *retweet* and *comment* – compared to their follower count. Here’s what they found.

4 Reasons Churches Should Track Their ROI on Social Media

Why numbers do matter

If you didn’t know, ROI refers to “Return On Investment.” It’s most often used in business and finance to help companies track their growth and progress to determine what’s working and what’s not. But for churches things are slightly different because we deal in spiritual matters. But does that mean we can’t or shouldn’t track our ROI?

I’ve grown up and always ministered in smaller churches and so I’m speaking from first hand experience when I say that we love to talk in terms of “planted seeds” and “touching lives” we’ll never know. I think it comforts us to know we’re still having an impact for God’s Kingdom even if we can’t see the fruit of our labour.

But I have friends who minister in larger churches and there the conversation is much different. While still talking about “planting seeds” and “touching lives” they’ll never see, they also talk about how they need to expand their sanctuary to make room for the ever growing crowds, or how they need an overflow section or how they might need to buy a bigger building.

For larger churches tracking ROI has practical implications. If they’re growing in numbers they need to accommodate those numbers. For small churches (which make up most churches in North America), the need to track ROI just isn’t there. And if we’re honest with ourselves, it’s also a little depressing to track ROI’s when we’re not seeing growth.

But we also know that because we deal in spiritual matters, it’s hard to determine by the numbers whether or not lives are truly being transformed. But does that mean ROI doesn’t matter?

The Real Danger of Social Media isn’t Social Media

Facing the Demons Within

Every week I hear people raise concerns about social media and question whether a church or a pastor should really be involved in the digital medium. I believe the concerns are raised out of pure motives but most of the warnings I hear have a root that goes far deeper than social media.

Before we go any further, I’m not talking about what I consider to be legitimate external dangers or concerns such as online stalking and online bullying. Rather I’m talking about dangers that have less to do with social media and more to do with learning to live a well balanced Christian life.

Here are examples of the warnings and concerns I hear almost weekly:

3 ways social media can help you be a better pastor

Connect. Observe. Lead - It's Your Mandate

I want to ask you a question. Have you considered the idea that social media can help you be a better pastor? I’m sure many of you find that to be an odd question. Right now it seems only about 66% of pastors have a Facebook account and a measly 23% are on Twitter.

Those are discouraging numbers, but there is a light at the end of that tunnel as more and more church leaders are realizing that avoiding social media will increasingly become one of the quickest ways to kill their ministry.

I wrote an ebook about why the Internet needs church leaders to plug-in. You can check that out here. But if you’re still not convinced, here are 3 ways social media can help you be a better pastor:

7 Twitter Strategies For Your Church

How to impact your community one tweet at a time

Twitter is the third largest social media platform behind Facebook and Instagram. It is used by high school students and business people alike and it’s a fast-paced global trend-setting technology. Yet many church leaders are still wondering what all the fuss is about. Maybe that’s you?

I remember reading about Rick Warren’ conversation with John Piper. Piper was an active twitter user – an early adaptor – and Warren viewed the platform as narcissistic and self-serving. Then Piper said something to the effect of, “We are called to impact every space for God’s glory, and that includes the digital space.”

That was enough for Warren to sign up and send out this first tweet:

From Apathy To Passion in 6 Easy Steps

Get Your Congregation Engaged Online

Apathy is the greatest weapon in the arsenal of the enemy of any mission. And what makes apathy so destructive is its subtly. A mission may have the people, the tools, and the statements – in other words it may seem to have everything it needs to be a success. And yet still go nowhere all because of apathy.

Credit: Freely Photos

A mission filled with apathetic people is a boat with an anchor dragging in the mud on the ocean floor. Fill the mission with people, crank up the throttle and bounce around in one place until the engine burns out.

And this is why for a mission to be successful the people need to catch the fire.

To quote Paul:

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (ESV)

“Slothful” is a strong word denoting laziness. But that’s not apathy. Apathy is a lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern. So the NIV captures it best this way: “Never be lacking in zeal…”

The problem many churches face is not laziness, but a lack of enthusiasm and interest in its social media ministry.

How important is your church’s website really?

Understanding your social media epicentre

I went for coffee with a pastor and his youth leader a few weeks ago and we were discussing how their church might use social media to reach more lives. When I brought up the subject of a church website the pastor said he was convinced they didn’t need one. His youth leader was even more adamant: “Why do we need a website if we have a Facebook page?

It’s a common belief that if a church has a Facebook page it doesn’t need a website. So I wanted to share with you a testimony email I received about what a new website (in this case, by FaithHighway) did for a new pastor and his church:

How many social media sites should you join?

Four reasons your church should be selective

How many social media sites would you figure exist? Three? Five? Seven? I’m not exactly sure, but I know that seven isn’t even close. Just look over this Wikipedia list of “major” social networking websites. Well over a hundred are listed. And that’s just the major ones.

So how many social media websites does your church need to plug into? After all, if there are over 5,000,000 people on the social media network About.me, and if you want to make the biggest impact for God’s Kingdom as you can by reaching the most people you can, doesn’t it follow that your church should be on that (and every other) social media platform?

Well, no, actually.  The fact is if your church tries to overextend itself not only will it fail in its mission to impact the digital space for God’s Kingdom, but it may actually be harmful to your mission and ministry.

So here are four reasons why you should be selective of the social media websites that your ministry plugs into.