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How to maximise your church’s social media for mission

Social media offers an effective way to reach and engage with people to help them consider the gospel. This article covers some key principles to increase accessibility and to equip our church families to use social media to invite and engage with people in their lives.

What is your church’s social media?

Your church isn’t just the staff team and so your church’s social media isn’t just the church-run account.

Mission offline is everything from the big church-wide events to the informal chats about Jesus with your next-door neighbour. It will look different in different contexts. Social media mission should be similar in its variety. 

Your church’s social media presence includes content on the church-run account but it also includes the more informal, personal interactions that individuals in your church have daily – a direct message to a friend, a link in a WhatsApp group, a testimony. 

A great example of this came from a friend who used their social media account to invite their friends to an event. They posted the event flyer and wrote a heartfelt caption, sharing some of their own story and why they’d love their friends to come with them. Why was this so good? Well, it was personal and honest, in a way that a church-run account can’t be. It encouraged comments from those with shared experiences and it sparked conversation. 

When we view our church’s social media presence this way, it helps us refine how we can best use our church-run accounts. Here are 5 ways that you can do that:

1. Make your posts shareable

Not all of your content needs to be aimed at those not connected to your church. If your church-run account is followed mainly by members of your church family, it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunities to encourage your church with the good news of the gospel throughout the week. 

But wouldn’t it be great if you could also share Jesus with new people? Through shares, organic reach and paid promotions, you are likely to reach people who have little or no connection with your church, so make the most of it!

What this might look like:

  • Check the language you are using. Is it accessible and welcoming for someone who has never been to church before? Is it jargon-free? Does anything need explaining?
  • Be inclusive. If your aim for a post is to encourage your church family to share, can you add a sentence or two that acts as an invitation? 
  • Post the right thing in the right place. Take Instagram as an example. You may find that if you post a reel, it reaches more people who don’t follow you than a regular post. You may also find that if you post a story, it mostly gets seen by your followers. Perhaps you could use that information to your advantage: next time you want to post something to reach new people, you could use a reel, and when you want to share something aimed mostly at your church family, use stories. 

2. Engage with your local community

Social media is a great way to connect with your community. This can be done in so many ways, both by individuals in your church and your church-run accounts. 

What this might look like:

  • Follow local businesses. Simply by following and liking the posts of local businesses, you’re building relationships that could later be developed in person. 
  • Engage in community groups. Lots of communities have Facebook groups that you can join. It’s a great way to engage in the conversations that are happening in your local area. This can be done with the church-run account or personal accounts.
  • Add your location to posts. You may get a few extra views on your posts simply by adding the town/city as the location. You could also try using location-based hashtags. This means whenever someone searches for your area, your church’s posts appear.

3. Use social media as a window into your church family

Social media can be a great window into what happens when we gather together. It is a tool we can use to build up, to encourage and to love one another during the week. 

So yes, share those photos of your family. Share the ways that you love one another. Think how you might serve your church through what you post on social media. All of this will mean that anyone who stumbles across your social media will have a window into what it looks like to be part of your church. 

“A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

What this might look like:

  • Take photos of your church family and (with permission) share them on your social media. This is a great way to show that we are a family, not a business.
  • Share photos and videos of events and behind the scenes. This will give those who are thinking of coming along an idea of what a service or event might look like. They can see the space they might walk into and see some faces they might recognise.
  • Be positive in the captions. Use social media to express how much we love gathering together as a family. Show that we love life together as church and we enjoy Sundays! Social media should be less about giving notices and more about sharing our joy in the Lord.

4. Resource your church

Social media can be a great place to equip your church family with resources that help them share Jesus with their friends.

What this might look like:

  • Create thought-provoking videos or other resources that could be used as conversation starters. These can easily be shared and are a great tool for your church to have access to. 
  • Make digital invitations to events (these could be pictures, videos or animations) and make them available to your church family. 
  • If you don’t have the capacity to create videos and graphics from scratch, you can still resource your church by sharing other people’s content. Follow churches and other organisations (including @lifethatlasts22 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) that create digital evangelistic resources and share their content.

5. Train your church family in digital evangelism

There may be many in your church who would love to use social media to share Jesus but who might not know how to start. Give thought as to how you could train your church in this area. If you’re investing time or money into creating or sharing helpful content, be sure also to invest time in training people how to use it.

What this might look like:

  • Regularly share creative ways to make the most of social media. For example, if you create a video, why not let your church know about it and give them some ideas for how to use it? Alternatively, could you give regular social media tips on your website or at the end of an email?
  • Lead by example in this area. Can you get your staff and leadership on board? Why not encourage small group leaders and other ministry leaders to be creative with their social media use? It’s important also to consider how you act on social media every day, not just when you’re sharing something from your church. Sometimes good work on social media can be undermined by times when we’re careless and don’t consistently act with truth and grace. 

Consistency and perspective

Social media mission can sometimes be disheartening if you can’t see growth or if you’re not getting as many likes as you had hoped for! Use insights and analytics to your advantage, but don’t be ruled by them. The content that gets the most likes might not be the content you need to post. 

Try to post consistently; think about what would be sustainable in your context. And when you post, consider how you might best encourage your church family and share Christ with everyone you reach. That way, you’ll surely be on the right track. 

Abigail Chilton

Abby Chilton is a graphic designer and is passionate about communicating the good news of Jesus in creative ways. She works at St Nicholas Sevenoaks as the Communications and Content Designer.