Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
In a space that often contains political rants, kitty videos, and endless distraction lies opportunity for spiritual impact. In a spiritual community, it seems wise to learn to be who we are in all the places we live—whether online, at the workplace, or in our neighborhood. Imagine the tools of social media on your smartphone and computer actually helping foster fellowship and spiritual growth. The choice is ours to use this medium as a distraction or follow some social media tips and make it something more. But, how do we do this? I have come up with 10 social media tips to help you foster fellowship and spiritual growth using the tools of social media for your church. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and even apps like Snapchat can be positive. But, how will we make them positive and spiritually uplifting?
10 Proven Social Media Tips for ChurchesImagine the tools of social media help foster spiritual growth rather than only a distraction. Sounds great, but how? Click To Tweet
Live online as a team, not a lone wolf.
The best part of social media’s influence is the social part. If you do this alone, you miss the point. Gather a group that is committed to use their online expression as a witness and activity for edification. If you can get your church small-group Bible study, Sunday school class, or circle of friends to be together the results will be exponentially increased.
Be accountable to a code of ethics.
When your team is in place, the best thing you can do is write down a code of ethics. For instance, posting a complaint about the service at a retail store may be appropriate. What attitude are you expressing, however? Are you sharing an experience for empathy, or venting anger? Agreeing to how and what you post and being accountable is how successful “real-life” works.
Develop a routine for posting.
When you know your platform and your audience, you need to have a plan of action for posting and engaging your social media audience. Create a schedule or set some reminders to take a break and post something going on or thoughtful questions for your audience. A few minutes is all you need to keep your page fresh and keep them coming back for more.
Celebrate what God is doing!
Now that you have tools in place and a social media strategy, what is the best content to post? If you saw a friend baptized at church, why not celebrate it online? If a sermon spoke to you, mention it. When a prayer is answered, share the results. Every victory shared is an act of worship and testimony wrapped into one.
Pictures sometimes are better than words.
You don’t have to be preachy to share what God is doing. I know it is cliche, but sunrise and sunset photos we all can relate to. Sharing your sense of God’s presence in the real-life spaces you walk through might just be what a friend needs to hear—or see, in this case.
Treat political controversies with respect.
Can we Christians share our viewpoints in a way that pleases others? Maybe not. However, being respectful means that we actually respect others enough to not be condescending, rude, or stubborn. Sharing your view is one thing. Inciting people with a sense of superiority is what drives people away. Be wary of how you share politics!
Never assume that your audience knows you.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that everyone who sees your posts has been to your church before or knows much about you. It’s best to avoid inside jokes, “Christian-ese” language, or other verbiage that outsiders would have trouble recognizing. Instead, as a practice, think of posting what you would if you didn’t have service, but still wanted to reach others with the message of the Gospel and show what a Christian church looks like.
Pray with friends online.
The private message feature on Facebook, Twitter or other apps is perfect venue to share and pray together. You can even do this as a group. As a group, you can share to specific people a request for prayer. Imagine if at a break at work you see a post that someone in your small group felt led by the Spirit and prayed for you.
Invite people into your real-world life.
When is the last time you invited a friend who is a non-church goer to a church event or to your house for a visit? That next men’s church BBQ, the Christmas program, the kids VBS and other events at your church are often designed for the entire community. Don’t be shy!
Encouragement is the most powerful weapon you have!
The last social media tip here to say is that if you wonder what the goal of an online presence is you should think of the word “encouragement.” It means to give courage. When you post something that lifts people, your are partnering with God’s in loving people. The more we speak of promise, the more hope we offer others.
Do you have any other tips to fostering fellowship and spiritual growth online?
Looking for more social media tips? Download a free companion eBook for this article and check out this Sharefaith Academy webinar that’s packed with tons of amazing social media tips and resources for your church social media strategy. Be sure to check out more articles with social media tips on Sharefaith Magazine.