We currently live in the most connected era of human history. In just a few seconds we can check up on people that live on the opposite side of the globe thanks to social media. As a pastor or church communicator, the current reliance on social media for information can play a huge role in the discipleship process. I know you’re probably thinking that this is just the ramblings of some crazy millennial that wants you to dilute the gospel. You’d be correct in assuming that I’m a crazy millennial, but I don’t want you to dilute the gospel, I want you to propel it!
Social media today can have the same impact that the written gospels had in the first century. Before Mark penned the first gospel account in the AD 60’s, the church had to rely on an oral tradition of the life of Jesus. Can you imagine getting all the information about Jesus’ life just through verbal stories? The gospels helped propel Christianity because the written account could be easily spread among the people and provided a consistent, theologically sound representation of Jesus.
With the prevalence of social media also comes the prevalence of misinformation. If your people aren’t getting information from you, they will get it from somewhere else and that isn’t always a good thing. In 1 Timothy 4:16 Paul charges Timothy to guard himself and his doctrine closely so that those that he pastored would be saved. As a church planter, your job is to make disciples by equipping those in your community. Today, social media must play a part in that equipping process.
There are currently 1.86 billion active Facebook users, of which 60% access the social network everyday. These are fathers, mothers, brothers, sons, and daughters all interconnected by one network, and contrary to popular belief they don’t just want to see cat videos. These are real people, with real hurts and pains that need to hear the message of the Gospel. If we want to be missional and fulfill the Great Commission, doesn’t it make sense that we need to go where the people are?
Our effectiveness at using social media to make disciples online will ultimately come down to whether or not we have a plan. Ben Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Just like any other area of our life whether it is having a quiet time, getting healthy, or doing evangelism, if we don’t plan it out, we aren’t going to be effective. So what do we need to be doing on social media? I’m glad you asked, here are 3 simple steps to help you start creating disciples on social media.
1. Post Great Content Everyday
Consistently posting great content will ensure that your church is being effective on social media. Share Scripture, worship songs, quotes, articles, sermon recaps, pictures, and your own insight. Posting a variety of content will help to make the process less monotonous. In the beginning focus on finding and sharing one great piece of content everyday.
At Church Media Source, we use Buffer to schedule our social media posts ahead of time.
2. Don’t Overwhelm People With Events
One of the biggest mistakes that churches make on social media is using it as a bulletin. If you are only posting about events, people will begin to tune you out. Make sure that you have an up to date calendar on your website that has all of your events listed. This is a much better way of telling people what is going on. However, a great way to get people interested in your future events is to post pictures and quotes from the event afterwards.
3. Interact With People
Make sure to interact with the people that message you, or comment and share your content. This shows people that they really do matter and that you care about them. Also, be sure to mix it up with your content by asking questions. Maybe even consider doing a weekly or monthly post where you do a Q and A session.
Social media is a great tool to create disciples online. Can you imagine how much more effective the Apostle Paul could have been if he had the ability to instantly connect with all of his children in the faith? We have that opportunity today. Let’s take advantage of every means possible to equip the body of Christ.