One of the most common questions I hear from church workers is:
“How do you use social media effectively?”
Most churches have a sense that social media is a big opportunity but don’t know how to capitalize on it.
Social media can be a little intimidating for those of us who aren’t digital natives. To be clear, I’m not a social media expert by any stretch of the imagination. However, I’ve watched and learned from people and churches who use social media very effectively.
So, here are some tips if you’re looking to get into or improve your church’s social media game.
1. Target Your Audience
Social media savvy churches understand who they are posting for. Most likely, random people from the world at large aren’t going to be watching your church’s Facebook page or Instagram feed.
It will be your people.
So, as you think about as strategy for social media, it’s important to realize that this is an avenue to lead, encourage, and strengthen your core church attenders.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Social media can be a great way to connect with people outside your church but this happens indirectly. It happens when your people repost something the church posted.
When this happens, all their social media friends and followers are exposed to your church. This can be a very good thing.
So, if you want to improve your church’s social media presence, narrow the focus and post content for your people.
And, understand that when you post content that reminds your people how much they love their church they will likely share it. Then all their followers and friends will be exposed to your church.
2. Appoint a Point Person
A second strategy that social media savvy churches employ is to
appoint a point person.
In a typical church, every different ministry has their own social media accounts and each ministry is posting whatever seems right in the moment.
Some good can definitely come out of this but not as much good as could come out of a concentrated effort in which everyone is running in the same direction.
Smart churches appoint one person. For some it is a paid position, for others it is volunteer, but this person oversees all social media at the church. This doesn’t mean that they post everything but it does mean that they are observing, directing, and consolidating posts in a way that makes sense and reflects whatever strategy a particular church has for social media.
Have you noticed that there are a bazillion social media platforms? I mean, even before we start talking about the obscure ones, there are a bunch that it seems like everyone is on:
Actually, no. That would be terrible.
Here’s what I’ve noticed. Social media savvy churches focus. I would argue that you really only need one as a church: Facebook.
Facebook is still by far the most popular social media platform with American adults. Once you get Facebook off the ground, move on to
However, if you are a student ministry or very young church, reverse the order here. Start with Instagram and then move to Facebook.
In our student ministry, we communicate with students through Instagram and to their parents through Facebook.
Wherever you find yourself, the point is: Focus.
Get good at one platform and then if necessary, move on. There’s no need to try to be active in a bunch of different social media platforms.
4. Engage and Answer
Funny thing, social media is supposed to be… well, social.
In other words, if you actually want your people to stay engaged with your social media accounts you need to respond to their posts, comments and questions. Even a simple, “Thanks for your comment” goes a long way in letting people know that you actually care.
Quite simply, people and organizations that only post their content come across as impersonal and focused on themselves. In contrast, people and organizations that respond to comments and questions appear to be warm, personal and others-focused.
This is another reason that someone must be appointed to oversee social media at your church. If the comments and questions are everyone’s responsibility, they are no one’s responsibility.
5. Tell Stories
I’ll never forget a lesson I learned about recruiting volunteers a few years ago.
Like you, we’ve tried every conceivable method to recruit volunteers. No matter what we tried we were always, shall we say, underwhelmed by the response.
Then, one year we made a video of one of our volunteers telling the story of her experience as a small group leader of high school girls.
That year, we had 5x the applicants.
That’s a big difference! That’s the power of story.
Social media can be an incredible tool for churches. Unfortunately, we often fail to realize the true potential.
Social media savvy churches use social media to tell stories—specifically, the stories of what God is doing in the lives of people.
It doesn’t have to be some expensive video that you don’t have the resources to create either. It can be a simple photo of a person with the story in text below the picture. The point is that stories captivate the heart. We were created to resonate with stories.
When churches use social media to tell stories of what God is doing and invite people to join in what’s happening, beautiful things happen.
6. Be Helpful
Lastly, social media savvy churches attempt to be helpful. Social media has a bad reputation for being nothing more than a tool for self-promotion. I agree that this is what social media becomes when it is at its worst. However, it doesn’t have to be.
When people or churches use their social media presence to help others, it can be not only compelling but magnetic.
So, here’s my final piece of advice: Don’t use your church’s social media platforms as a constant advertisement. Be creative and find ways to actually encourage and help people.
I recently heard one social media expert advise that for every one post that is self-promoting, you should post four that help and serve others.
The point is that people tend to tune out people and organizations (churches included) on social media that constantly promote themselves. The most savvy social media users are genuinely helpful and others focused.
If you’re looking for a place to start, I would encourage you to learn. Start following different churches’ social media accounts and take notes.
What do you like, what do you hate? What is worth copying?
(If helpful, you can check out our church’s Facebook page and Instagram feed).
From there, pick a platform, appoint a person and get to it!
Written by Aaron Buer. Article may be found at Breeze.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22, NIV).
Laughter shouldn’t be a secret, yet it seems people have forgotten how to laugh. Grumpy Cat, a celebrity feline, gained fame and an internet presence for her eternal sourpuss face and, while endearing on her, it is not so endearing on the face of those attending “Grumpy Church.”
We can busy ourselves with the work of the Lord yet forget to live—and living involves laughing. One “Grumpy Church” we served in frightened people away with their disgruntled ways. Attendance diminished, and joy was nowhere to be found. For where laughter is, joy is sure to be alongside. Laughter lightens moods and breaks down barriers between people. Laughter invites others to join in. Laughter embraces differences and helps us see ourselves as we are, flaws and all. Laughter can get us through the hard times in life.
As a pastor’s wife, I have learned having a sense of humor is a gift from God. I couldn’t make it through ministry life without it. Laughter reduces stress and burns calories. I would rather spend an hour laughing with a friend than walking on the treadmill (pass the chocolate please). And while laughter produces deep lines on our faces, each one is full of memories and moments to cherish. “I love these frown lines on my forehead,” said no one ever.
Do you remember the last time you laughed out loud? I don’t mean adding an LOL to something funny online, but a real laugh.
Laughter happens daily in my home, many times when I’m the only one in the house. Funny things are everywhere if we take time to notice them.
While reading online reviews for a lice treatment kit, I found one that read, “To get rid of life, you need to see a doctor.” One letter made all the difference, and I laughed.
A classified ad stated a car for sale was in great condition and was “spacey.” I think the writer meant spacious or roomy, but she combined the two and out came spacey.
On a walk with a friend, we passed a house with garbage at the curb. I glanced at it and doubled back to take a picture of a box labeled, Donated Human Tissue. I posted the picture on Facebook with the caption, “What are they doing in that house?” I know it was probably just used to carry something home from work in, but that box made my mind run wild. Are they creating their own human in the basement out of donated parts? What parts were donated? Can I get new thighs there?...read more
Suzanne has been in full-time ministry with her husband Wayne since 1992, pastoring in Pennsylvania and Illinois. She has two grown children and spends most of her days either writing or reading with a cup of tea close by. She enjoys attending auctions and sometimes brings home more stuff than she knows what to do with. She believes life is too short for mediocre food and insists on having good chocolate in the house at all times.
By Amy Rager
Are you, or have you ever been, a youth minister's wife? I have. What about a rural church pastor's wife? I've been there, too. Or an urban church planter's wife? Count me in, also. So many moments in life, I felt like an outlier. Five times at the hands of the elderly widow’s class I received verbal tongue-lashings. Once, I was the oldest female in our congregation. Four times I’ve relocated my family. I’ve served down old country roads; I’ve also served right off of I-65. I've been in ministry through health, pregnancy and illness. I’ve lived below the poverty line, and I’ve lived in the middle class. And in all things, Lord may call us to move again.
Pastors' wives, can you relate to my personal version of Paul's life (found in 2 Corinthians 11)?
Being a pastor’s wife is definitely not characterized by stability or predictability. We serve a Savior who once said, “The wind blows were it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8).
That’s the God we serve—One who moves as mysteriously as the wind He created.
We often use the phrases "surrendered my life to the ministry" or "gave my life to Christ." This surrendering is not just a one-time giving of ourselves, is it? No, it’s an everyday mentality of "this life is not my own, I will live as Christ sees fit."
Adaptability is a necessity for pastors' wives and is likely a quality you’ve already had to cultivate. Tom Rainer says the average pastor changes churches every three to four years. This adaptability we’ve instilled over the years can be a powerful tool in our ministries. Check out the definition of adaptability...read more
Amy is the wife of church planter, Barry Rager, and the mother of four young, energetic children. She and her family served in established churches for 8 years before relocating to Indianapolis in 2013 to plant New Circle Church. Amy enjoys discipling women and is passionate about planters' wives.
You can connect with her on Twitter @amylrager More from this author.
In December, a dear woman in our church handed me a tin of Christmas treats she'd made for our family, and as I received them, I felt tears immediately welling up in my eyes.
She didn't know and couldn't have known, but I had been in need of encouragement--even something as simple as a tin of cookies, something that expressed I'd been thought of and that I was appreciated
I'd actually been fighting against this desire for weeks, fighting against it because I felt it had crossed a line into craving approval and validation. Craving reward. Maybe even a little self-glory. The craving was strong in its temptation; my faith felt fragile and weak.
Is it so wrong to want reward? Sometimes I just want to know from God that what I'm doing for Him matters. Sometimes I want to see the fruit of my labor and get to rejoice at how the Lord is moving in and around me. But then sometimes a desire for reward is more sinister. I feel in my bones the lure of applause, money, worldly success, comfort, ease, and self-glory. All temporary, all things that might provide immediate gratification.
So in regard to encouragement, which is it: right or wrong?
my husband. How do you navigate this journey? It is awkward and sometimes I don't know whether to reach out to the wife or just let it go. It is a lot to go through as a family when you realize people that you labored with will no longer be there. And then the congregation questions us as to where these people have gone or why they have left."
I want to address this question in a way that will be beneficial for everyone in the church, whether you are a pastor's wife or a person leaving or considering leaving your church...
Do you have any "if only's" in your thought life? Are they holding you back, keeping you from moving forward? Beth Holmes shares with us the follies of comparison and ways to overcome our tendencies to compare.
“If only our church had a full-time children’s minister …"
“If only our women’s ministry could find its footing …”
“If only our people would volunteer more …”
The expression “if only” is a great temptation in ministry. If only everything and everyone would line up, then we could do what another church is doing. If only we could convince our people to do the right steps, then we could be like another church...read more
.Beth Holmes is a minister's wife and mom living in Owensboro, Kentucky, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2014. After spending a year learning to be brave through cancer treatments, God is teaching her again how to celebrate in 2016. Join her journey at bethholmes.wordpress.com. This blog was posted on June 15, 2017 at Flourish.
The phrase, “Don’t let the disappointment in a few keep you from loving the many,” comes from a chapter in my book, 10 Things Every Minister’s Wife Needs to Know. In recent days, I’ve gone through a season of disappointment, and I’ve had to remind myself of my own words. And unfortunately, I am pretty sure I will find myself there again in the future. You may say, well, that’s just ministry life. But it’s not. It’s everyone’s life, regardless of the occupation of your husband.
As minister’s wives, we can be tempted to withdraw or retreat, become bitter, give up or be resentful of hurts. But when we do that, we end up lonely and isolated, and we miss the blessings of the “many” God has called us to serve and serve with. We sometimes determine in our hearts we will never allow ourselves to be put in that position again—we determine not to be vulnerable or transparent ever again. We tell ourselves it’s not worth the effort or the hurt. Unfortunately, that gets us nowhere in the eyes of others, or most importantly, with the Lord.
So how are we to respond when we feel that keen disappointment in others? In my recent season, I deliberately decided to respond exactly opposite of how I felt on the inside. Rather than choosing to withdraw (my natural inclination) and retreat, I chose to take advantage of an opportunity to honor and commend others.
Rather than focusing on my personal disappointment,..read more
Jeana Floyd is the author of An Uninvited Guest: One Woman’s Journey from Cancer to Hope and 10 Things Every Minister's Wife Needs to Know. She and her husband, Ronnie W. Floyd, have been married for 39 years. They have two sons and seven grandchildren. Jeana celebrated 26 years as a cancer survivor on January 15, 2016. She has ministered to countless cancer patients and their families these past 26 years. More from this author
When we first started out in pastoral ministry, it seemed most of our decisions were made in reaction to whatever situation we were in. For the most part, that decision-making style served us pretty well. As time went on and we dived deeper into ministry, we found that life ran smoother if we did some proactive thinking and planning, asking ourselves questions like, "What would we do if...? How will our actions affect our children and our home?"
Amy Rager, a church-planter, writes about how she and her husband came to the same conclusions as we did. She gives us some tips on WWWD - What We Will Do - before the situation arises.
A little before midnight, there was a knock at our door. An officer apologized for waking us and asked my husband if he was Justin Smith’s pastor.
‘Pastor’ was probably a bit of a stretch. We met Justin and his wife around a month before at our church plant’s block party. They had attended worship gatherings sporadically. Nevertheless, Barry confirmed he was Justin’s pastor. The officer said there had been a domestic dispute. Justin had been arrested for physically assaulting Karly. He nodded towards the cruiser as he said, "We’re releasing him, but he can’t go home to his wife. You’re the only contact he has in the city. Can we put him in your care for the night?"
Barry and I looked at each other.
How could we tell an officer, "No, he’ll have to go back to holding for the night?" What would it do to his budding faith to watch—from the back of a police car—Christians turn him away? But what about our four sleeping children upstairs? Would we endanger them or expose them to ugly scenes by accepting this ministry opportunity? And how in the world could we make this decision within a matter of seconds? Read more here
The smell was more nauseating than anything else. Coupled with the constant motion of the water and the seaweed wrapped around him, the man expected nothing but death.
How did he end up in this place? Why didn’t God just let him die in the sea? Why did he have to end up here to die a slow, painful, agonizing death?
The gastric juices kept burning his flesh. Open sores were appearing all over his body. He found no way to be comfortable, no way to rest. Why couldn’t he just die?
He found a piece of wood and rested as much as possible. If he laid across it just right, then maybe he wouldn’t have to tread through so much water and dead fish.
He drifted to sleep.
He heard the voice. Plain, simple. No details yet, but that didn’t matter. He heard God speak!
Once again he felt the excitement! God needed him!
God in heaven had a job for me. I am to prepare to take a message!
Just like the prophets of old, Elijah and Elisha!
Maybe someone will write a scroll about the things God will do through me!...read more
In our discussion this month about marriage in ministry, this week's blog post is one I'm suggesting that you share with your husband and have a discussion, just the two of you. The article says, "Ministry couples need to confront the tension between church and family by negotiating the specific challenges in the ministry environment." How do you as husband/wife and family respond to this strain of ministry? It's worth having a conversation about this subject now...better yet, make it an ongoing conversation, kind of like a health check up for your marriage in ministry.
A pastor once told us, "I was at a board meeting where we were examining potential elders. One candidate was asked, 'Are you willing to make sacrifices with your family for the sake of the church?' And it was a weird moment because I asked myself, What's the right answer to that question?"
Over the past seven years, we've gathered pastors and their spouses into peer cohorts, which met repeatedly in multiday retreats called Pastors Summits where we facilitated heartfelt discussions about the challenges of vocational ministry. During one of our summits, a participant shared the following story:
A few years ago, I asked my wife what it felt like to be married to me, after 20 years of marriage and 18 years of ministry together. I was optimistic of her positive response. She said, "I know that I would never divorce you. And I certainly would never kill you. However, I can't help but think the boys and I would be better off if you were not alive."
My response? I was ready to leave the ministry in order to save my marriage I went to my elders and told them what my wife had said. After some quiet moments, one of the elders finally said, "Now is not the time for you to leave the ministry. Now is the time for you to learn what the ministry is all about." With their support, my wife and I began extended counseling together. This has resulted in some pretty dramatic changes in the way I live life and do ministry.
The effects of ministry on marriage—and marriage on ministry—are rarely discussed, yet intimately connected. From the summit discussion with ministry couples, we identified two primary challenges facing marriage and family for those in the ministry. We will explore these two stressors and describe the most helpful responses and actions identified by the summit couples.
Stressor one: ministry as a lifestyle
Pastors can only dream of a nine-to-five job in which the whistle blows and the work stays behind as they head for home. One pastor stated emphatically, "Ministry is not a job; it's a lifestyle. Even when I'm home, I'm subject to the telephone and my inability to turn some of the church emotions off. I feel like I'm faking it with the kids much of the time."
Pastors rarely feel like they can step away from their ministry responsibilities...read more
"Is Ministry Killing Your Marriage? Pastors reflect on building a harmonious relationship between their ministries and families, " by Bob Burns, Tasha D. Chapman, and Donald C. Guthrie, Christianity Today: CT Pastors, April 2013.
Where do you go to learn about being a minister's wife?
It is our desire here at Refresh to see that each woman has a positive experience in partnership with their husband in ministry.
Bloom wants to provide guidance, support, connection, and encouragement to wives new to ministry through a connection with a seasoned and trained minister's wife using a Connect group created specifically for you. We'll use books to guide us in our conversations about the challenges, issues, benefits, and rewards of being a minister's wife.
We believe when women are strengthen, our families and churches are strengthened, and the ministry of the gospel is strengthened.
Interested in joining a Bloom Group?
Let us hear from you. Next group starting April 2018.