Many churches rely on church socials (fellowships). From my youth there were many great memories from church suppers, ice cream socials, and dinners on the ground. We’d gather with people you’d only see on Sundays in order to do “fellowship” stuff. Like eat, talk, and laugh. Socialize!
Social media is the new church social. Except many churches are abusing it to a point that the power of it is being missed.
It’s much like a church deciding to throw a church social after morning services on Sunday. But instead of serving food, playing games or being entertained by clever skits, the social instead will be more of the same (what everyone’s getting from the church service). Because of that, many decide not to attend. They want fellowship, not another sermon or certainly not more announcement time.
Here are 3 reasons why Church Social Media isn’t that social:
- The Church Posts are too Promotional. Imagine if your church social was simply an extension of the church announcement time. People stream into the fellowship hall and then are bombarded with a steady stream of upcoming events. Many announcements aren’t for them so they decide to not pay attention. Because they’re there to fellowship and be social. They’d rather talk than to listen. So the church decides to put clever pictures up on a screen while telling them about the event hoping to get the attention of a few. This is the way most churches tackle their social media, And they wonder why they have few followers and very little engagement.
- The Church Posts don’t start a Conversation. Most churches are scared to start a conversation on social media. They’re aware of the trolls, the anger, the pushback, and even hate. So they avoid starting discussions. But social media is intended to be a place (more public than most of us like) where people are free to share. But many of our posts try to “tell” rather than “ask”. It’s like us saying to our congregation before a church social, “no questions or opinions please”. That’s what fellowship is all about. It’s our role to monitor the interactions and chime in when needed (without engaging trolls who thrive on controversy).
- The Church Page is all about the Ministry and not about the People. Scrolling through most church social media feeds reveals a proud church. Messages that scream: “We have a lot of activity for you!” “We know the Bible!” “Our leadership is amazing!” “We sing cool songs!” “We’re praying for the latest news headline!” Church social media has become like many of our services. It’s all about the church and it’s leadership. It’s like going to a church social and realizing it’s a cleverly disguised church service. People are there to socialize and see THEM on social media, not to only see you. Find a proper balance. Make your congregation the hero of your story.
So, let’s throw a “church social” on social media. Serve entertainment, fellowship, some food (recipes perhaps), and create a space where good Christian engagement can happen. Who knows? Maybe your community will show up too.