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

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For my first five years working in creative ministry, I was obsessed with the idea and the destination of “excellence.” I always felt excellence was a value often forgotten or overlooked in the church world, and I tried to make it my mantra as a young creative to fix everything and bring it up to a level of excellence I could be proud of.

I still love and value excellence. I think it’s critical to effectively communicating the story of what God is doing in and through our churches.

However, as I look back at that first season of ministry, there was something missing. Now I realize that drive for excellence created a steady rhythm of being overwhelmed, frustrated and feeling like I never arrived anywhere.

Everywhere I would look, I would find things that need fixing, frustrated by things that I couldn’t control or speak into, and facing challenges with limited resources and staff. I was wasting sideways energy on so much that I couldn’t control, feeling like excellence was the destination that I’d never actually get to arrive at.

If I was going to survive and be effective in the call God placed on my life, a couple things needed to change. Continue Reading »

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On Tuesday, January 7th during our Lead Team meeting, we were talking about Terence Lester, one of our church planters who created an innovative ministry called Love Beyond Walls. His focus is giving a voice to the homeless of Atlanta and building relationships with them to help change their lives. Terence put together a campaign called 6,000+, where they were looking for donations of socks, gloves and hats to give to the 6,000+ homeless in Atlanta that go to sleep without a home. The deadline to submit donations was in 5 days, and they were 2,000 short of their donation goals at that point. We wanted to be a part of taking care of this need and mobilize our church to play a part. Continue Reading »

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If you’re involved in church communications, I can almost guarantee within the last month that one of these things has happened to you:

  • Someone asked if they can create their own Facebook page for a ministry
  • Someone didn’t even ask and you found out they created a Facebook page for their ministry

We all know that Facebook and social media can be an excellent way to promote, engage and encourage our audience. But it’s also something that we need to approach strategically, just like we would with any other ministry decision.

There are two types of strategies you can use for Facebook Pages:

  • Centralized strategy with one page that focuses on church-wide content, but also includes ministry content.
  • Scattered strategy that has one church-wide page, but also allows other ministries to create their own pages.

I know of some churches that are using a scattered page strategy successfully. I’ve personally used both strategies for managing social media for a church and have found the centralized strategy to produce better results.  Continue Reading »

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Volunteer teams don’t develop overnight. They develop through strong leadership and easy on-ramps to get people involved. Here’s a quick overview of key roles on the team and steps for engaging new volunteers in social media. Continue Reading »

Social Media Strategy In 3 Words

It’s easy to start a social media presence these days without ever defining what the purpose and strategy is behind it.

At West Ridge Church, social media is at the core of our communications strategy. Our Facebook Page has grown 70% over the last 15 months and has a weekly reach of about 14,000 who are seeing content associated with our page. We’re seeing our Twitter engagement growing rapidly as well. My favorite part about this? Most of this has been done through some incredibly talented volunteers!

The strategy that has kept us grounded as we write posts and get more people involved is this: Continue Reading »