So what good does social media do for churches? After all, churches have been operating just fine for thousands of years without social media, right?
With people being pulled in so many directions by so many choices for social activity, it is possible that churches today are less the center of their members’ “social” life than they have ever been. Until about a hundred years ago, the church was one of the most social structures in society. The primary method of entertainment and leisure was socializing. That, combined with the very nature of the church, made it the hub of relationships.
Growing Church Community
But in the fast-paced high-tech movement of modern society, real socialization and personal relationships have been dramatically impacted. I am not saying that it is the role of social media to fill the relationship void in the church. However, used properly, it can add an additional avenue of communication to help grow a community.
Churches and Social Media
Here are three observations concerning social media and the church.
- First, social media provides a lower level of social interaction and relationship than traditional face-to-face contact.
- Second, social media helps facilitate that lower level interaction and relationship when used properly in the church.
- Third, if social media is not used, that lower level of interaction and relationship simply will not exist.
Church Social Media Example
Before my church had a Facebook group, there simply was no organized online forum for communication. Members communicated to one another via text messaging and Facebook interactions independently, but there was no way to build or sustain community. Now that we have a Facebook group, there is a hub of communication; a central location where everyone can get involved at whatever capacity they like. And having this new social media component has positively impacted our Face-to-Face relationships, both in terms of helping to coordinate live events and meetings, and also in terms of giving us a little bit more common ground to build relationships from.
What Is Really Happening?
Facebook has not become a place where we build relationships. It has become one more element we use in building relationships in person. When you are more comfortable talking with someone in person because you have interacted with them online, THEN social media is helping build real relationships. Social media alone will not build deep relationships or take on the role of a pastor, but it could help people to become more comfortable around their pastor and each other.
Social media can help as an added channel for church leadership to broadcast information, but ultimately it’s the development of church community that will provide the richest benefits.
The ineffective or inappropriate use of social media is something we refer to as being socially awkward. If you’d like more information that can help your organization stay out of this category then download our Free Guide Social Media 101 today.