Go ye therefore: Social Media in the Faith Community
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xG9whtjTBK8] "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost..." Matthew 28:19
Before moving back to DC, I was on the social media team for my church, West Angeles Church of God in Christ, located in South Los Angeles. While there, I wrote posts for their blog, helped manage the Pastor's Twitter page, and posted new content to the church Fan Page on Facebook. This past Sunday, I attended service at All Nations Baptist Church here in DC. I met a member of the church back in April when I lead a digital media training for work, and she informed me that the church was in need of help building a social media presence. They are a relatively small church, but are very active in the community of Northeast Washington, DC and have even started a blog. But currently, they aren't on Twitter or Facebook.
All Nations and West Angeles are two very different churches; West Angeles is a large megachurch Los Angeles and All Nations is a smaller church in DC. It's not a surprise that a church like West Angeles would have a social media presence - I almost think that at this point we expect megachurches to be all over the internet. West A's social media team plays an integral part in the church's outreach not only in Los Angeles but outside of the city as well - they use Twitter and Facebook to post livestreams of church services which in turn makes their ministry more accessible to a broader audience. But again, that's expected of a church with thousands of members. What about smaller congregations, who could arguably benefit more from using social media than larger ones?
Many smaller churches want more members of their church and more people from the surrounding communities coming to church event and benefiting from the things the church has to offer. The fact is, those new members and neighbors are engaging on social media. Why not meet them where they are?
There's no reason why a place of worship, big or small, wouldn't want to be on social media. I understand that there are many congregations that have an older demographic that might be more adverse to using social media, but the fact is that if you're a place of worship in 2013, social media will be a great avenue to attract new (and younger) members and spread the word about events, community outreach, and--yes--the teachings of your faith. Not using social media puts places of worship at a disadvantage and can cause growth to become stagnant.
Just in case you still needed convincing, I'll give you another example. When I moved back to DC, I tweeted that I was looking for a church home in the city. About an hour later, I received a tweet from Capital City Church (@capcitychurchdc) that they had services every Sunday at 9:30am and 11:00am and that they hope I would visit soon. I did, and I became a member soon after my first visit.
I know that I focused on churches in this post, and I apologize if I failed to include other places of worship into my discussion. Christian churches are what I am most familiar with, but I honestly believe that all places of worship regardless of religion could make use of social media.
What places of worship are doing social media right? Please share your thoughts in the comments.