Social Media and the Church – Rainer on Leadership #058

Podcast Episode #058

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Social media is fast becoming the preferred method of communication. It cannot be ignored. Not just by individuals, but by churches as well. So this week, I somewhat turn the tables on Jonathan and interview him on how churches can more effectively use social media and how pastors and leaders can use the platforms online out of gospel ambition instead of for personal gain. We cover a couple of posts from his blog (linked below) and the seven reasons churches need someone directing their social media.

  1. Social media is fast becoming a preferred method of communication. 
  2. Having one individual lead social media will avoid the pitfalls of mixed messages.
  3. A congregation’s social media expressions need a consistent voice. 
  4. A good social media director understands the language of the people.
  5. One person acting as social media director can help give priority to the different messages the church needs to send. 
  6. A social media director can help find the church’s  “sweet spot” in social media. 
  7. Effective social media needs ongoing attention. 

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  1. says

    Hi Thom. A great point of view – social media is a mission field. Often people view social media (including myself) as a sea of self-approval and personal importance, a place where everyone can post about how wonderful they are. However, it is a mission field, for there is a massive population on social media who don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ.

    I never thought about blogging and tweeting about my sermons before hand. Great idea. However, I would love to hear you speak about what us small churches can do. We cannot afford secondary staff – can barely afford a pastor. In fact, I would be bi-vocational if my wife didn’t work. The issue, then, is that I don’t have the time to do a wealth of social media. What can I do to try and integrate this into my small, bi-vocational church?

    • Thom Rainer says

      Good questions Michael. I need more than a comment to respond, so you have inspired me to do a future blog post on it.

    • jonathon says

      First hurdle to clear, is to know who owns the copyright to the sermons you preach.
      Second hurdle to clear, is to know who owns the copyright to the Bible Study lessons, Sunday school lessons, and other content you create, as a result of being a pastor.
      (Go over this with a lawyer that specialises in copyright law, and Internet issues. Whilst it will cost a pretty penny today, it will be much cheaper, both financially, and emotionally, than when you get sued for copyright infringement by your church, when you are “famous”, and theoretically “rich”.)

      Then, and only then, begin the blog, and othe social network interaction.

      As far as Twitter, and similar social network sites go, Tweet the subject of your sermon the day before you deliver it. Include a that points to a page on the church website that lists the location of the church, the date and time it meets, and how to get there by walking, driving, or using public transit.
      Send no more than one tweet every thirty-six hours.

      If your service is videotaped, create a vlog on Youtube, and release the videos here. (Depending upon your legal jurisdiction , where your congregation works, and other factors, model release forms may be required. You will need to do clear copyright for everything in the vlog.(The lawyer that you discuss who owns the copyright to your sermons can set up appropriate checklists for you.))

      Decide what you want the blog to be about.
      For pastors, the simplest approach is to have it expand upon their sermon.
      Both WordPress and Google’s Blogger allow posts to be created today, and automatically be posted up to a fortnight later. (It might be a longer period of time.)
      Sunday night, automatically post the sermon.
      Tuesday, automatically post content that you consideted including in the sermon, but deleted for whatever reason. (Side tracking, over-detailed, or did not quite fit in, are the easiest/most common.)
      Thursday, and Saturday are additional posts of content that did not make it into your sermon.

      If your legal jurisdiction allows for an unpaid Social Media Person, appoint somebody in the congregation to that post, with the clear understanding that it is not a paid position. They write a blog about the church, and its involvement in the ocal community. Minimum of two posts per week. They also engage peple on BeeBo, FaceBook,Google Plus, MyChurch, etc, on behalf of the congregation. (The under 25 crowd has a much better grasp of what is and is not appropriate for social networking sites in general, and each specific site, than the fifty+ crowd has. Appoint somebody accordingly.)

      I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice.

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