Thursday, June 7, 2012

Using social media as an outreach tool

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How does a small church let people know about their ministries?  How can they effectively reach out to their communities?  Few have funds to advertise what they are doing.  Actually, that's OK because many business people say traditional marketing is not very effective today.  Few people will show up any more for the traditional weekly visitation program, and that's OK too because it's increasingly difficult to catch people at home, and the ones who are home often don't like having their evenings interrupted by people ringing their door bell.  The fact is that most of the ways churches did outreach in the 20th century simply are not very effective today.  So, what would be effective?  Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and church blogs might be the most effective way to reach the unchurched people who live in your community.

Most churches tell me they would like to reach new people and share the Gospel with them.  If I ask what groups of people they would most like to reach the answer I usually get is young adults and youth.  Who are the people most likely to use social media?  Young adults and youth.  Are you seeing a connection here yet?  If that is the generation our churches want to reach then it is important that we use the tools they use to let them know about our church and the ministries it offers.

I have promoted the idea of using social media before in this blog, but I still see few churches using it effectively, if at all.  It is possible for even the smallest church to have a website that costs them nothing or very little.  Blogs, Facebook, and Twitter can all be used at no cost to the church.  While you can pay for a blog that offers more bells and whistles, starting out you can have a very nice blog for free.  This blog costs me nothing except the time I spend writing.  Not only do these offer you a means to reach out into your community, they give your church a world-wide presence.  Your church that may not average more than a dozen people on Sunday morning can spread the Gospel all over the world through the use of social media.

You can use your blog or webpage for your primary content.  There is where you want your primary message to be found.  You then use Facebook and Twitter to send people to that message and to develop an on-going relationship with the people who read your Facebook posts and tweets.

Let me suggest a resource for anyone interested in using social media as an outreach tool for your church.  Michael Hyatt has written a most helpful book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.  I devoured the book in two evenings. Although it is written primarily for businesses, it is equally helpful for church leaders.  He presents a very simple step-by-step way to effectively use social media to get your message out to the people.  One of the things I enjoy about the book is that he points out specific resources you can use to get the best use out of social media.  If you are interested in using social media in your church and are not certain how to do it, this is a great resource to get you started.  If you are already using it chances are this book will teach you some ways to use it more effectively.  I've learned a lot from the book that I'm now applying to my own social media sites.

Our churches should not be afraid of using technology to get out the message we've been given.  The Gospel has the power to change people's lives, so let's take that message to where the people are.  For many of them, that will be on social media.

If you are interested in reading Hyatt's book, Platform, you can order it here.  I do want you to know that this is an affiliate link, and if you click on it and purchase the book I will receive a small affiliate commission.  I share this with you to be completely upfront with my readers.  I also want you to know that I will not offer anything that I myself have not personally used or read and would recommend to others. 


Matt said...


My church uses a social media tool new to the market for churches. I helped design it, but we are enjoying it. It's internally administered and even interfaces with FB. It's designed to help church folk interact in a safe environment and shapen and challenge one another through faith, finance, fitness, family and fun. See our page at
For more information go to If interested I can provide churches a nice set up discount.

Matt Zimmer

Dennis Bickers said...

Thanks, Matt, for making us aware of this resource. I've never used it so I can't recommend it, but I would suggest that my readers check out the website and see if this is anything that would be helpful to your church's ministry. If you decide to use it, please let me know how it worked for you.