Like any technology, the internet can be used for both good and bad. X-rates sites generate more traffic than Amazon, Twitter, and Netflix. The online adult content business generates over $97 billion in worldwide revenue every year. Your leadership is needed more than ever before. I believe that Social Ministry is where Church 4.0 can provide the most significant value.
What is your message narrative for social ministry? The last time I checked, #craiggroeschel (Life Church) and @stevefurtick (Elevation Church) had received 18.4 and 14.2 million view each on TikTok alone. It would help if you were clear about your message and your distribution channel. Your church brand and overall narrative have a purpose.The story and values you communicate make a difference. Static posts can tell a story. The goal is to go beyond storytelling.
Social ministry is not about announcing an event. It’s about building a community and creating a safe forum where people can engage and discuss. Your content offers companionship, empathy, and belonging to a community. The right social ministry will cultivate world changers.
Churches need to move away from an inward focus. On a Sunday morning, does your team have time to listen and interact with people in an online chatroom and on social media. Social media interaction is about listening. You can empathize and bring value to the world through social ministry by thanking people on social media for commenting and engaging.
The church has always been about people. Church 4.0 will continue being about people. As part of social ministry, you can set up a one-on-one apprenticeship or discipleship pathway for a new believer. Your social media team should be thinking of ministry teams made up of administrators and moderators who are keeping the community culture a safe and healthy online environment. Vulnerable people will comment in a group. Your social ministry needs to manage this vulnerability.
We need to view social media as a social ministry. Social media is not about channels and buttons. It has gone beyond ‘share,’ ‘post,’ and ‘likes.’ It is not about posting. It is about people. Church 4.0 needs to consider utilizing social media to help reach people where they are. Social channels are social engagement opportunities that involves both listening and interacting.
It is about listening, interacting, responding, and online ministry. You need to become better at building an online social community. You need to personalize your digital outreach across all channels. You need to know the demographic of the people you are serving to develop the right media channel playbook for your church.
I share a word of caution for leaders. Your church cannot be using too many social networks. It’s a mistake to do very little on social media. It’s an even bigger mistake to try to do too much on social media. Even if you are open to a social media mindset, the limitation in the skillset (number of people on your team) and the toolset (money you can spend on social media management platform) available to you should prompt you to have a realistic digital playbook.
It would help if you considered the following:
- Is your social media and online messaging on track?
- How are you doing with the journeys you offer a newcomer?
- Are you making your newcomers move in a digital loop without taking them forward on their path to experiencing God?
- How do you measure engagement?
- Are you on track with your goals?
- Is your priority right?
- Do you need to refocus?
(Excerpts from my book, The New Normal of Leadership: Innovation & Technology in Church 4.0)