Serving Vs Marketing

Your Church or organization’s Facebook is more than just an extension of your bulletin. Make it a rich experience that offers value in the way of inspiration, content that helps someone navigate life, discover who they are in Jesus, and personalize it with stories of what God is doing in and through your congregations. Your Facebook page is not about marketing, but about serving.

Mobile Ministry Forum has it right. In an article called What You Need to Effectively Use New Media by Dr. Frank Preston, one quote made me nod vigorously,

“The research theory that underpins this is what is called the use and gratifications model. This theory states that people are limited by both cognitive capacity and time and therefore will only consume media that fits their needs in their timeframe. Since consumers have a limited attention span, then they quickly forget the message if it is not immediately applicable to them. This is what is called “recency and regency” (recent time and importance) of a media message. By nature, New Media is data driven. Every step in the process needs to be measured and evaluated. If a person “hits” on your media (listens, buys, tunes in, lands on your page, goes to your Facebook, etc.) it is because they want to. (emphasis mine)”

That’s what I’m trying to do as I revamp how WorldVenture uses their social media. Even though I work a full-time job to pay the bills while I raise the capital to take on my new position with WorldVenture full time, I am doing a small part of my job description–coordinating their social media and working with our workers globally to tell their stories.  Social Media is all about digital discipleship. What I discovered was how many of our worker’s newsletters come with snippets of wisdom and inspiration from a point of view most of us will never experience. Marry that with nice graphics and put it on social media and it’s not surprising how people take to it.

The data are people, not merely numbers, who are looking for something. We can’t put that data into a box away from our emotions. We have to care. We have to love even the trolls who pepper our posts with ugliness. That’s why I see every person as real and give each person my time. But there are too many people, and no one can run a Facebook page and expect to do digital discipleship alone.

There are 500 plus workers and appointees with WorldVenture. How many people are online in your church congregations or ministries? Why aren’t you training them to use Social Media to do more than just hit the share button, and instead, share their life experiences with people hungry for the Gospel? Some simple things you can do right now with your Facebook page:

  • Reply to comments as meaningfully as possible. If people left you comments, they deserve a response because each comment is a gift.
  • Don’t just post content to fill space. Who are your followers? What do they need?
  • Follow up with people. Do they live in the area? Can you foster good relations, maybe make a new friend, and meet them for coffee in the face-to-face world?
  • Can you help connect them with a church or ministry who can help meet a need in their life?

Whatever you feel about social media, it is here to stay and will continue to evolve quickly. We can either adapt or become obsolete. It can nicely partner with face-to-face activities, but like our friendships in the face-to-face life, it will take some effort and prayer.

*Help WorldVenture get a digital worker by financially partnering with me here*

 

 

Dear Friend: A Blessing in Email @LeadLikeJesus

Most people hate it when you take their email and sign them up for things they may not want. Email is very much in, but it is also what takes up most of our time. I can spend a couple of hours on email, but with my limited time, I simply take care of the important emails. This is why my email is out of control and has been since I started last year with a new day job. But I will never forget the saint who signed me up for Lead Like Jesus email devotionals. You were a blessing.

To you, whoever you are, THANK YOU.

Dear friend, you did me a favor. My heart ached. I felt empty. Numb. I started reading them every morning and used that in the quiet mornings before work became busy to pray and focus on what God wanted me to focus on.  What God taught me through those emails over the years will never leave my heart, nor the memory of finding the very first one in my inbox.

Perhaps someone blessed you with an email subscription or sent you something encouraging. In the comments, tell me about it. 

Re-Thinking Social Media

When you’re so sure you’re right that you’re willing to burn things down, it turns out that everyone is standing in a burning building sooner or later.Seth Godin (emphasis mine)

 

I am reminded every day that businesses, missionary organizations, churches, church plants, advocates for adoption and foster kids, and those against human trafficking need people like me who understand social media and make it work for them. In the spirit of collaboration and partnership, I am always checking my motivations and words. The Gospel is too important for it to be all about me or my ministry. That’s why I love Facebook groups that encourage this kind of collaboration, like Church Communications, AR/VR, etc. That’s why I began a group to encourage a change of narrative.

For the Christian, Social Media is about serving online.

Change the inner narrative, you change a person’s whole perspective:

“But the things which proceed out of the mouth come out of the heart…” Matthew 15:18a