A 7 Day Social Media Experiment For Pastors

What could happen if you spent a few minutes a day creating conversations and connections through social media?

Here’s a play-by-play guide.

If there was an opportunity to expand your ministry reach and connect with your church and community where they are during the week, would you take it?

There’s an opportunity in front of you that is still mostly untapped and is ripe with ministry potential. That opportunity is social media. We have all the tools in the toolbox that we need to reach more people than ever before. Now, we need to learn how to use these tools to expand your ministry reach. All it will take from you is investing a few minutes a day. I promise the return will be worth it.

To help you get started, here is a 7-day plan to walk you through what this could look like. Adjust however you’d like to fit your style, community, and culture.

MONDAY

Start off the week by connecting with people and asking how you can pray for them. If you have an experience you can briefly share that demonstrates the power of prayer in your life, share it! This is such an easy way to connect with people and hear the burdens they may be experiencing. As people comment, make sure to reply to their comment with a word of encouragement or to simply let them know you’re praying for them. 

TUESDAY

What’s a win that has happened recently within your church that you can celebrate? You could share a photo and story of someone who was recently baptized or that gave their lives to Christ. There could be a ministry that is experiencing growth and seeing lives changed. Think about some wins or stories that the average person may not know about in your church, and use this as an opportunity to share it!

WEDNESDAY

Through this season in your life, what is God teaching you? Where have you seen God at work in your life recently? Share this from your heart, and end the post with a question that may spark some engagement by saying “What is God teaching you right now?” Get real and vulnerable. This is a great way to humanize yourself to people that are only used to seeing you on a stage behind a pulpit.

THURSDAY

Share through video or text, a look at what you’re going to be sharing in your upcoming message. People love getting a behind the scenes look at something they’re going to experience. If there’s a key question or felt need that you’re going to be addressing in your message, share that! It’s a great way to build some anticipation for what is going to be taught in your message. There may even be an opportunity for you to get feedback, or stories, about a topic that you’re going to share. Ask for that feedback and see if you can work those examples into your message this week.

FRIDAY

Is there an unsung hero at your church that you can highlight? Someone who faithfully serves behind the scenes, but may never get the credit they deserve? Snap a photo of them during the week and honor them through a post. This will be a huge encouragement to that volunteer, but will also be an opportunity to demonstrate how important volunteers are to your church.

 

SATURDAY

Why are you excited about church tomorrow? Share that and invite people to join you. Yes, you should share your service times and maybe a web link to get directions to your church. But that’s not the only thing you should share. Here’s the key. Don’t make this just about the information. Make this about the why. As you write this post, target the person that may be on the fence about if they’re going to come to church tomorrow. Share the why, not just the what, and encourage people to bring someone with them. This is also another opportunity for you to share about the topic that you’re speaking about.

SUNDAY

Take a few minutes after your services to jump on Facebook or Instagram Live to dive deeper into the application of your message that day. Share a brief recap of what you talked about in the message for the people that are watching on social media that weren’t at church that day. Then, take a moment to encourage people with how they can apply what they heard in the message. If there was a story or scripture that you didn’t have time to share during the service, share it here. This is one of the best opportunities for pastors to connect with people on social media right now.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How long should I spend on creating these posts?
I’d suggest blocking off 10-15 minutes a day to invest in this. Just remember, your job isn’t done after you hit post. Social media is a two-way conversation, not a one-way bullhorn. Make sure to take a few moments during the day to engage with any comments that are coming in.

How can I improve engagement?
Make these posts as visually engaging as you can. Use photos to bring them to life, or a simple graphics to drive home the message. There are some free resources out there for photos like pexels.com, unsplash.com, or pixabay.com. For graphics, you could use an application like canva.com.

What social platforms should I use?
Facebook is where I’d start. Instagram would be next.

Is there a way to plan ahead?
YES! You can schedule content on Facebook through HootSuite.com or Buffer.com. Write a few of the posts, and have them automatically posted when you specify. But, you can’t automate engagement. Engagement is manual, so make sure you’re carving out time to engage with the people that are engaging with you.

After I do the 7 day experiment, what’s next?
This 7 day experiment is designed to get you started and show you the ministry impact that social media can have. Don’t feel the pressure to post every day, but I would encourage you to be consistent in using social media to connect with your church and community.

What’s going to happen through this 7 day social media experiment? How could God use this? Let’s find out.

I’d love to hear any stories or feedback that happen as a result of you jumping in on this experiment. Shoot me an email at phil@philbowdle.com

Might Be Time To Quit Your Job

Wanna know the most surprising thing I discover when talking to people working on a church staff? The biggest source of disunity and conflict often lies between the Senior Pastor and creative team.

Creatives often find themselves feeling under-appreciated, overwhelmed and ill-equipped to do their job well. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “my pastor/boss just doesn’t get it.”

On the other hand, I hear consistently from Pastors that they feel like creatives only care about their work and not how it fits into the church as a whole. They don’t feel the support, don’t give the benefit of the doubt to leadership, and are rarely happy with what they have.

Here’s the bottom line if you’re working on a creative team (or anywhere on a church staff):
If you can’t support the Pastor and the vision and mission of your church, go find another job. Seriously.

If you’re working on a church staff, you probably find yourself in one of three situations:

Continue Reading »

The Crippling Fear of Being Disliked

I like to be liked. I’m a born people pleaser, ENFJ, pastors son who cares deeply about what people think of me and works hard to earn the respect of others.

As a Communications Director at a large church, I get requests every day from ministry leaders looking to promote the great things they have going on. My gut instinct is to always say “YES” to each request. Why? Because I want to see their event or ministry be successful and help play a part in that. However, if I’m honest, there’s a little more to it than that.

What I’ve had to learn the hard way is that my tendency to say YES often comes from a fear of being disliked. I fear that people won’t understand that an answer of NO doesn’t mean that I don’t support them or what they do. I fear they will make personal judgements on me instead of understanding the role I play as a communications leader. I fear they will talk behind my back and blame me for their event’s lack of success. I fear. Continue Reading »