Last Sunday we began posting this message before worship as people entered the sanctuary, and the response has been great.
People are checking-in, tweeting, and sharing pictures way more already.
The simple idea is that by checking-in and posting to their social networks, people can help spread the word about what's happening in our congregation.
Why does this obvious but brilliant little slide work so well?
It gives people permission to break out their smartphones in worship—still kind of a new idea. And it feels fun. You can interact with other people from church in a playful social media way.
Photo by dpstylesGetting to know a new ministry context can be a fun but time consuming process. Using the geolocation service Foursquare can help you get the most out of your time.
One of the first tasks a ministry leader has in a new call is to getting to know the local community. You drop in at local cafes, parks, restaurants, take in local events, drive around town, getting the lay of the land. You introduce yourself to ministry colleagues and local leaders, and reach out to local news outlets.
You want to understand the community in which your ministry is situated and your parishioners live - you want to let people know that you're here - and begin to demonstrate your consistent presence in the community.
The goal is to start building a network with everyone from the mayor to the local barrista - a network which becomes the groundwork for collaboration, supporting the community, evangelism, and rallying together in times of need.
Foursqure helps take the consistent and demonstrable presence you are building in face-to-face meetings and extend it into the digital meeting places of your community.
Twitter is a great way to learn more about and build relationships within your local ministry context. I am using it to get to know my new neighborhood - Ambler, Pennsylvania - a month before I even physically move there. Here's how I'm doing it - in five pretty easy steps:
1. Update Your Profile
Make sure it is clear in your Twitter profile that you are associated with the church. Include the church's twitter handle, if they have one. And be sure to update your location. You'd like for local people to follow you back on Twitter. Make sure it is obvious who you are and why you are following them - because you are also part of the local community.
Member participation is absolutely crucial for effective digital ministry, and yet there is very little guidance out there for people in our congregations. Most of the advice focuses on the role of professional ministry leaders.
Member engagement helps puts the "social" in social media by extending the community, amplifying the Gospel message, and helping move away from a one-person one-message model of broadcast media.
Here are five ways members can participate in and extend the digital ministry of their congregations:
A "Why Twitter?" Ministry Story
A police officer was shot in my city yesterday. He was responding to a robbery at a local jewelry store.
Twitter immediately lit up and tweets started flying about the incident from news outlets, community leaders, and residents. Most people used the hashtag #woburn - the general hashtag we use here for community information - to tag their posts. For the rest of the day, Woburn was trending on Twitter.
Twitter is one of the ways I've become more engaged with our local community and so I recognized many of the people who were tweeting.
I jumped in and started retweeting information. One suspect had been apprehended. Three other suspects were on the loose, considered armed and dangerous. It was a manhunt. Local and state police, SWAT teams, helicopters all on scene. Road blocks. Door to door searches. Schools and the YMCA were in lock down. Residents were urged to stay inside with their doors locked. The officer had been shot several times but was in stable condition.
It was chilling.
Anyone can create a Facebook page, Twitter feed or YouTube channel. Almost no one has a plan for how they will use it.
If you want to be successful in social media, you must have a plan.
This post will help you create a plan that fits your congregation. It covers these topics:
- Having Clear Goals
- Being Consistent
- Capturing Your Content
- Automating to Save Time
- Developing a Schedule
- Studying the Statistics
- Where to Begin