26 Ways to Adapt Your Time-Tested Ideas to the Digital Space

Understanding how to exist in the online space as a church is challenging. Should you post your same church service online? Should you try to follow all the trends and forget everything your church has been doing?

Realistically, sometimes, it’s about creating something new and other times, it’s about revamping what you already have.

Adapting time-tested ideas to the digital space is something we like to think of it as “digital op-shopping”.

If you’re not familiar with op-shopping, think of it like going to a thrift store or going vintage shopping. It’s when something old is given new life, remixed, revamped, revived and renewed.

In this article, we’ll share several ways your church can take some of its time-tested ideas and adapt them to the digital space.

We’d love to hear from you too! Share your ideas in the comment section.


1. Praying live on social media

Each Sabbath morning, at about 7:00 AM New Zealand time, NZPUC Union President Pr Eddie Tupa’i goes live on the Union’s Facebook page and chooses a scripture to pray through.

During this time, he engages with people who are watching online and prays throughout his live stream.

Engaging in prayer is at the heart of our Christian faith. Finding ways to do this regularly, consistently and in a live format can be impactful for the people you minister to online.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: You can take prayer requests and go live on your church’s Facebook page, Youtube channel and Instagram accounts. Let your church members know you’ll be going live at the specified day and time; make it a regular practice so people expect you there.

The North American Division’s show Let’s Pray offers us an example of how this might work.

Screenshot from Let’s Pray’s Facebook Page

Let’s Pray shares a phone number on the screen and talks with the people on-air . Then, they follow up the conversation with a prayer.

You can do a simple version of this and take requests during the week that are e-mailed or messaged in. Show up each week and pray for the requests you receive live or the ones you’ve received throughout the week.

The most important part is the prayer.

What do you think? How might your church incorporate something like this online?

2. Online prayer meeting on social media

Another option for praying online can be to make the prayer session more like a prayer meeting that has multiple people on the screen. This can be done through a platform like Zoom or Streamyard streamed on to Facebook or Youtube.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: Entering a Zoom room can seem like an overly intimate, intimidating experience for people, especially if they’re new to your church. Seeing you pray online on one of your social media platforms can make your church seem more accessible. Also, your prayer session may be the first step of awareness someone people may have about your church community and this may be an encouragement for them to get to know and engage further with your church.

Additionally, having a live prayer service may be a great, non-threatening event for your church members to share on their social media platforms.

3. Zoom rooms for prayer

In our previous examples we talked about the benefits of public prayer. When it comes to developing community and prayer consistency, private group prayers can be powerful and Zoom rooms create an ideal environment.

One example of this can be seen from the Sydney Adventist Women at their annual gathering.

During the event, they created specific Zoom rooms for prayer. Each room focused on a specific topic.

Similarly, the Iowa-Missouri Conference has a weekly prayer line each Monday, which provides a space for more intimate, group prayer within a specific community.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: Your church can schedule a regular prayer session each week and advertise it on its social media accounts.

A good way to interest people would be to share some answers to prayer on your social media account. Also, you can share quotes and resources about what prayer is and the power of prayer. This will give you the opportunity to invite people to your Zoom session for prayer.

This idea gives you the chance to think of how prayer can be used as an opportunity to invite people into community with your church while also providing community to your church members.

4. Teaming up with a prayer partner

Matthew 18:20 tells us where two or three are gathered, God is there with them. When considering time-tested ideas, praying in groups is biblical and powerful.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: Your church can offer ways for people to find a prayer partner, pray with a group of people or regularly pray for prayer requests that come in.

In doing this, you can create a sign-up box or a matching system. You can even make it a practice to regularly offer people the opportunity to pray with someone.

While it may seem easy on the surface to find a prayer partner, some people need a third party to help facilitate these relationships for them. Your church may be in the perfect position to play the role of connecting people or of regularly inviting people to participate in group prayer meetings.


5. Small groups in home

LifeSpring Adventist Church in Florida is using the time-tested idea of home groups to engage with the online space. (You can read more about them in the article about “How One Church is Doubling Their Engagement from Cell Groups.

LifeSpring calls these small groups cells, and they invite people to choose trusted people they want to be in a cell group with. These groups keep in touch with each other during the week and also are encouraged to watch the “screenings” or Sabbath morning church services together.

The screenings have moments where the service pauses and invites the participants to engage around a discussion or interact with one another on the topic being discussed.

LifeSpring Church is describing these groups as being places where mission will be recaptured. They say, “mission is both proclamation of the Gospel by inviting your neighbors, your co-workers, and your family into your disicpleship cell, and it is also the demonstration of the gospel.”

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: Your church can develop its own small groups where people can engage during the week as well as on Sabbath. If it fits your church, you can find moments to pause during the service for interaction among the people in attendance in a small group or at home.

You can also use the time after the church service or screening to engage in discussion with small groups about the sermon. This method is similar to the one used by the community at Kellyville Church.

6. Virtual visitations

One of the core parts of our faith is the encouragement of one another. Hebrews 10:25 says, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

Due to some of the social distancing requirements, visitations can be challenging and restricted. John Boston, Associate Director of Evangelism for the North American Division shared a simple idea of engaging in “digital pastoral visits.”

This could involve regularly reaching out to your online community and offering to chat, have prayer or just check-in.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: Your church can encourage its members to reach out in this way on their social media pages. Similarly, churches can regularly post on their social media accounts that someone at the church is available for in-person and virtual visits.

7. Shop for people

Because of technology, shopping for others is something you can do from any location, and it is a great, time-tested ministry for your church.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: Your church can have a place where people can state their needs privately and then find members who are able to help them.

If you find out someone needs groceries, you can go online, order the groceries and have them delivered to their home.

Alternatively, you can buy the things the person needs and drop them by their home. This idea is good because it allows you to live in community and care for those people around you.

Your church can engage its online community in this initiative by letting them know your church can help them. Also, you can let people know that they have the opportunity to help others.

8. Food pantries

Many churches are running food pantries to meet the needs of their local community. This ministry can be time, resource and volunteer demanding so, there are various ways your church can get involved.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: If your church has a food pantry, find opportunities to communicate to your online community the needs the pantry has, like donations, time from volunteers and help with advertising.

If you’re looking to advertise the pantry to your online community, create regular posts to direct people to the pantry and its hours of operation.

If your church doesn’t have its own food pantry, your can take the opportunity to regular promote the local pantry to provide the resource to your community.

Bible Study

9. Discovery Centre

Studying the Bible and positioning ourselves to hear from God through His word is one of the most important functions of a church. Finding new ways to share Bible study, which is a time-tested idea, presents a new opportunity.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: One way you can do this is to share specific Bible study courses from the Discovery Centre and other similar ministries.

Additionally, you can run a Bible study at your church and invite people to participate in it. The Bible study can be run directly on your social media page or in a more private setting like Zoom.

There’s even the opportunity to run a hybrid version that combines an in-person element along with an option to attend virtually through one of the online platforms.

Because a closed group may allow you to have deeper discussions, you maybe a a bite-sized Bible study on your public page and then invite people to go deeper with you in the regular small group study.


10. Singspiration

If you’re like many people, you have great memories of songs being sung at camporees, church services, Adventist Youth programs and summer camps.

What if your church took this time-tested idea and found an opportunity to share music online?

Sandra Entermann and Fox Valley Church show ways you can engage in the online space with music. Both Sandra, as an individual and Fox Valley, as a church, take song requests and sing them live on camera.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: If your church is musically inclined, you can host your own Singspiration, however, if this would be a challenge for your church, then find a sing-a-long like Fox Valley’s or Sandra Entermann’s and share it on your social media platforms.

11. Concerts

One of the most challenging activities to carry out in the virtual space is concerts. Nonetheless, the Ontario Conference of Seventh-day Adventists shared a virtual Concert experience on their Youtube channel, which included almost two hours of singing, playing and harmonising.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: Similar to the idea about online song services, if your church is musically inclined, you can host your own concert. However, if this would be a big feat, share someone else’s concert or find a place where you can participate in a concert that’s already taking place.


12. Virtual Communion

With the requirements of social distancing, many churches, like Manna Park Church, took to carrying out their communion services online. Recipes were shared with members on how to make the communion bread and and the service was carried out online.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: Whether your church is meeting in person or a combination of in-person and virtual, you can use this idea to make sure all of your members are included in the communion service. The key is to notify members in advance so they’re aware of the various ways to participate in the communion service.


Seventh-day Adventist Churches have been long-known for helping communities with healthy lifestyle practices. In many churches this ministry is called Health Ministries.

This time-tested idea has an opportunity to make a big impact for your church in the online space.

13. CHIP

The Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) is typically run in-person at a church over a span of time.

The program guides participants through health principles and encourages them to make lifestyle shifts that will impact their overall health.

CHIP is developing the possibility that these programs can be run online.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: To run a CHIP program at your local church, you need to be trained as a CHIP facilitator. If you’ve received training to be CHIP facilitator, additional training will be provided on how you might operate the program online or as a hybrid online/in-person program. To learn more, you can contact the CHIP Organisation.

14. Cooking Demonstrations and Health Seminars

Grace Community Seventh-day Adventist Church‘s Health Ministry refers to itself as Grace Fit. The ministry shares on the church’s Facebook page by demonstrating healthy principles, such as,



Healthy Eating

Your church can use some of these ideas as inspiration for energising your church’s online Health Ministry.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: You can engage your church’s Health ministries to share tips around healthy living that can be shared on your church’s social media accounts. This can be an exercise program, gardening, healthy eating and even mental health tips. If your church doesn’t have a Health ministries department, you can share the content of other church’s health ministries or the tips from other online resources.

15. Depression & Anxiety Programs

Depression & Anxiety programs can provide mental and emotional freedom for people in your community.

And now, there’s the possibility to run this program online. You can learn more from our interview with Andrew Jasper from the Victorian Conference.

As you’re watching, you can note that one of the major highlights of the interview is that the results from the online Depression & Anxiety program were similar to those who have participated in the program in person.

How to Run an Anxiety & Depression Recovery Program Online

Andrew Jasper, Health Director for the Victorian Conference recently ran an online Depression & Anxiety Recovery Program due to the lockdowns in his area. In this session, he'll share his experience, the results and the challenges. He'll also give you some ideas how you and your church can do something similar.

Posted by Digital Discipleship in the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Tuesday, 29 September 2020

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: If your church is interested in running a Depression & Anxiety Program, you can start by looking up information on Dr. Neil Nedley’s website to learn more about his philosophy.

To run the program, you must take facilitator’s training, which is typically offered by the Health Director at your local Conference office.

If offering the full program is out of reach for your church, you can provide supporting posts on your social media account about how to deal with anxiety and depression and point your community in the direction of another Depression & Anxiety Program or another local service.

You can also direct individuals to the Dr. Neil Nedley online course that’s offered directly by the Neil Nedley organisation.

Children’s Ministries

One of the most challenging things to do online in an effective way is Children’s Ministry. Even still, many ministries have been adapting and finding way to engage their youth and children using time-tested ways in the online space.

16. Pathfinders & Adventurers

Greater Sydney Conference has been offering online options for the Pathfinders and Adventurers, from online honor classes to online camporees and gatherings.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: Your church can share tidbits from the Pathfinder and Adventurer program to engage and excite kids and their parents. Then you can use calls to action to invite them to join your Pathfinder and Adventurer clubs.

Another idea is you can also share photos from previous Pathfinder and Adventurer events to allow people to reminisce, and also invite the Pathfinder and Adventurer leaders to make guest appearance on the social media pages. And, if your Conference office or Union is sharing Pathfinder or Adventurer activity, you can share it on your church’s social media accounts.

17. Story time online

Some churches and schools have been taking the opportunity to share stories online.

Ben and Herlin Fehlberg from Kellyville Church in New South Wales have created elaborate lego sets and scenes with their son’s toys and have shared beautiful stories for the church’s Sabbath morning service. These stories have then been shared on their Youtube Channel.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: Invite your church’s most engaging story teller to come on camera and share story with the kids. They can read the story from a book, use a set, like the Fehlbergs or even engage their stuffed animals or pets. The main idea is to create something parents can share with their kids.

If this idea is too far out of reach, you can find the church’s Sabbath School pages or the pages of other churches and share their kids’ content on your social media accounts.


Radio and podcasting are effective ways to create community and share meaningful messages. They require less bandwidth than video content, and radio is accessible even when there isn’t electricity.

There are many possibilities for your church with these time-tested ideas.

18. Podcasting

Podcasting is a new form of radio, and its on-demand listening content can be tailored to your audience’s needs.

The most common type of podcast for a church to release is the audio from their sermons. However, there are many opportunities in podcasting to tailor your content to meet the specific needs of the people you’re trying to engage.

For example, your church could develop content for mums or teenagers or those who want to follow a specific Bible study you’re engaging in.

Here’s a list of some Adventist podcasts for you to check out for inspiration.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: Because the most common type of podcast content for a church is its sermons, you can use your weekly sermon as audio content. Alternatively, you can think about the needs of your online community and create content around that.

Look around your church and identify the expertise you have in the congregation and see how it aligns with the needs of your community. Outline a series of topics you can present on and sit down to develop the audio content.

If this is out of reach for your church, find a podcast that you think would be valuable to your online community and share it on your social media accounts. You can even take the opportunity to create discussion around specific podcast episodes you share.

19. Radio

Radio still has a strong place throughout the South Pacific Division in providing listening content for people. Here are a few stations you may consider sharing:

Faith FM

“Faith FM is a Christian radio network providing “positively different” lifestyle and spiritual radio programs to benefit, enhance and uplift Australian communities.

Faith FM was launched in 2008 and has grown to reach hundreds of communities around Australia with inspiring music, family insights, health advice, and uplifting spirituality to make a positive difference in the lives of many people.

Faith FM reaches approximately 6 million Australians through FM radio stations scattered around Australia and reaches across the Outback through the VAST service (a government-sponsored radio and TV service to remote communities and grey nomads).  Faith FM is available online through a variety of platforms. Our privacy policy is available here.”

– Source FaithFM

Hope Fiji

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Fiji, has been operating a radio station called HopeFM for the last 14 years. Both Radio and TV are now part of Hope Channel Fiji, and since its commissioning on the 3rd of May, 2015, the Hope Channel studio has been sharing positive Bible-based messages throughout Fiji.” – Source Hope Fiji

Hope PNG

Hope PNG, known as The Voice of Hope, is a Christian Community Radio Station in Papua New Guinea. The station broadcasts on FM 107.5 and broadcasts in Lae and Port Moresby. – Source EMTV.com

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: If you’re looking for ways to share radio, which is a time-tested idea, your church can share the radio frequency for its local Adventist radio stations to its online community through social media.

It might also work well to share specific programs, live broadcasts from the radio station’s social media accounts and stories of hope from the listeners of the station.

If you’re wondering how the radio station has impacted people in your community, reach out to the radio stations and ask; they will likely be very happy to share stories you can share with your online community.


20. Prophecy Seminar

Prophecy Seminars are time-tested ideas with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. There is an opportunity now to broadcast the seminars online and to incorporate interactive elements into the programming.

North New South Wales recently shared a prophecy-themed broadcast called The End that had lots of engagement and impacted many lives.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: If you’re interested in this idea, your church can develop and share its own online prophecy seminar online. Alternatively, you can take part in a larger campaign that’s taking place in your area.

Another idea is to find content from a previous campaign that has been shared in the past, like The End, and share it with your social media community. Create discussion around the videos and have moments fo live discussion to answer people’s questions.

Content that’s already been created is still valuable and can continue to help people in their spiritual journeys.


21. Relationship Ideas/Seminar

Every couple, family and work colleague is susceptible to relationship stress and the pressure of COVID lockdowns is multiplying that effect. Some churches, like the University Church in Lebanon is taking this moment to provide relationship support to its members and the community by talking about strategies to manage the pressure of work, home and finances.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: If your congregation has a professional who can help create content around this topic, find ways to get him or her involved by doing a special livestream, getting them to create quick tips and videos or having them write special articles on your website.

If you don’t have this skillset at your church, ask a professional to come and do a short workshop. Advertise the workshop around your neighbourhood and among your online friends.

Another idea is that you can share the content of other social media accounts that are providing sound, biblical guidance in this area of family and relationship counselling.

Text Messaging/Chat Bots

22. Text Messaging

Many churches are looking for new ways to communicate with their members and guests. PastorsLine lets churches use the time-tested method of SMS communication in a new way.

According their website, PastorsLine.com, “The PastorsLine platform is a church-driven, bulk texting platform developed and managed by church ‘insiders’. We know churches intimately. We’ve attended them, been part of their management teams and worked with them for many years.

Our goal is to serve you by helping you spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. We’ve positioned ourselves to be your in-house, IT team for solutions to your communication issues. In addition to everything our platform can do, our partners love our responsiveness to their needs and fast tech support.”

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: Your church can think of ways to incorporate text messaging into its communication. Although a word of caution should be noted that you must use SMS sparingly. If it’s overused, it can be seen by your members as intrusive.

Texting should be part of an online journey you’ve created for your church’s visitors or certain members in the church. Visit PastorsLine to learn more about how to employ the strategy.

23. Chatbots

Similarly, chatbots allow churches to interact with people on social media platforms as well as on websites. They allow you to create engagement with your visitors even while you’re sleeping.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: If you’re looking to utilise the time-tested idea of engagement and incorporate it into your social media platforms and your website, then you should understand what you want people to do when they visit your online platforms.

Are you trying to invite them to a relationship seminar? Do you want them to come to your weekly Bible study? Are you trying to get them to watch a video and then join a small group. Having an understanding of the online journey you want people to take is the first step.

Then, you need to understand how to call people to action. This is important because the chatbot will be encouraging people to take specific actions.

Finally, you’ll want to understand a bit more about chat bots, which you can learn from this guide: Guide to Chatbots.

Letterbox/Literature Evangelism Ministry

24. Digital Pamphlet

The digital pamphlet is a modern take on a time-tested idea of sharing filers. The one shown below is a production of the Hope Channel’s Discovery Centre in the South Pacific Division.

To get them in the “hands” of the people you want to read them, you need to share them as links to friends, family and social media contacts — an activity you can think of as digital door knocking.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: Your church can contact its local Conference office or Literature Evangelism ministry to see if there are any digital pamphlets available.

Alternatively, your church can create its own digital pamphlet by creating a specific page on your website that focuses on one topic. From there, you can work to have your church members distribute this digital pamphlet to people who could benefit from it.

25. Letterbox Bible study

When you’re going out letterboxing, you have the opportunity to invite people to take part in a Bible study. This can be a study that takes place online at your church, through one of the Bible schools or through a set of DVDs.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: You can physically letterbox your neighbourhood, which has its own appeal and effectiveness. You can also digitally letterbox an area through using online advertising.

In letterboxing, you have the opportunity to connect people back to your church. In addition to inviting them to study the Bible you can use the opportunity of letterboxing to invite them to connect with your church’s online studies on your social media platform (as we discussed earlier) as well as the online prayer you may decide to offer or even the health information you’ll share.

26. Letterbox journey

Taking this idea of letterboxing one step further, your church can letterbox and invite the recipients of the flier to visit a special place on your website. From there, you can have an article, or some information that would be relevant to the peoople in your community and then you may call the person to action. Creating this pathway is called developing an online journey.

How Your Church Can Use This Idea: On this webpage, you can begin to take your visitors on an online journey. For example, Step 1, might be to letterbox your neighbours. Then, you might invite them to watch a bite-sized Bible study on your social media platforms and from there you might invite them to take a 6-week Bible study course. This is a small example of a journey.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to developing online journeys. To do it well, you should sit down with your ministry leaders and try to understand what you want people to do when they find you online.

To go deeper on a few ideas about how we can take time-tested ideas and revamp them for the online space, watch the Adventist Church Online Network broadcast that engages around this topic:

Click here to view the ACON Broadcast of how “Old Meets New”

We hope these ideas gave you a bit of inspiration of what you can do with your time-tested idea. Let us know in the comments section if we missed something or if there’s something your church is doing that we haven’t listed.

How to Use Facebook Groups to Grow Your Ministry, Church or Business

When you’re looking to grow your audience, increase your reach or get more eyes on the content you’re creating, Facebook groups are a great way to give you some much needed exposure.  The problem is figuring out how to expand your reach while finding the right audience, adhering to the group’s rules and connecting the people in the group with your life-changing content.

In this article, we’ll explore a few tips on how to get started with using Facebook groups in the right way to help you meet your ministry goals.

1. Choose the Right Facebook Group

Choosing the right Facebook group is one of the most important steps in growing your ministry. You want to look for groups where there is activity and where you can find your target audience.  You may have to ask yourself, who did I create this content for?  Who do I want to engage with it?  

Look for a group to join who would be served by your content.

Some groups are purely sharing groups so they’ll be happy for you to come in the groups and drop links to your content.  Other groups frown upon unsolicited links.

Scan the types of posts that are in the group.  Try to get a lay of the land and the group culture and be a good digital neighbor.

2. Understand the Rules of the Group

When you join the group, read the group rules and make sure you understand them.  Figure out how you want to work within the rules of the group.  Many groups will ask you not to promote yourself or share your content unsolicited.  If you decide to be a member of the group, respect these rules and learn ways you can add value to the group, while finding opportunities to share what you have to offer.  You don’t want to get on the group admin’s naughty list.

3. Don’t Be a Drive by Link Dropper

If you want to grow your ministry, don’t drive by and drop links in groups.  Being a drive by link dropper means you go in a group just to leave your link and run.  You don’t participate in group discussions.  You’re not a useful member in the group.  You simply leave your content every week or so, and move on to the next group and the next group and the next, driving by and dropping content.  This is an example of being a poor digital neighbour.  

Jokingly, I refer to this as being a drive by link dropper because it’s the best way to describe what it feels like as a group member to experience it.  If you’re really committed to getting eyes on your content, enhancing the community you’ve joined and finding people who will genuinely engage and be transformed by your content, invest in the communities you join and avoid driving by and dropping your content.

4. Be Useful

There’s nothing a group admin loves more than a useful group member.  Find ways to add to discussions.  Ask questions that create conversation to get the group’s engagement going.  Answer questions, and be helpful.  Generally be a good digital neighbour.  People will remember you for this. They’ll want to know more about you and understand your experience.  

Being useful & knowledgeable has its own kind of appeal, and it can go a long way towards promoting your ministry, business or church.  Engaging online in this way is considering the long game and not the views you’ll get on the video you created yesterday.  Maintaining this type of group strategy will help you build a good long-term relationship that will benefit you and the people around you.

5. Participate in Conversations

Remember you’re not the only one with something useful to say so be a great conversationalist and join ongoing conversations.  Find conversations to join that are relevant to your ministry.  Jump in if there’s a topic related to a church program you’re hosting. 

If you’re wondering, participating in conversations is the opposite of driving by and dropping content.  Participating in conversations indicates you’re a part of the community and you’re there to stay.  As you do this, find ways to be useful and add value.  Your contribution will be long remembered and create opportunities for you to share what you’re offering. 

6. Start Conversations

Find ways to start conversations that are relevant to the group.  This will create content that’s useful to people and generate engagement in the group.  Members of the group as well as the group admin will appreciate your efforts and you might even get a little “conversation starter” badge from Facebook.

7. Be Helpful to the Group Admin

Find ways to make the life of the group’s administrators easier.  Perhaps you can be a peacemaker or answer a question or flag an inappropriate post.  Thinking about the health of the group and the community will make it more likely the administrators will allow you to share useful information about your ministry or business or even share a program when the times comes.

An online group is like a garden, if you take from it without nurturing and planting seeds, eventually it will wither and die.  How are you helping to create the community you’d like to experience?

8. Don’t Be Predictable

Don’t make everything about your ministry.  Find other things to chat about.  Don’t make the group member or the administrator roll their eyes every time they see your name pop up.  Keep them guessing.  Do things for others,  share great resources and sometimes, sparingly promote yourself.

9. Share Your Ministry, Church Program or Business When Prompted

There will likely be opportunities for you to share what you’re doing, and you should wholeheartedly jump on those chances.  Sometimes the group will have a Tech Tuesday or Business Night Thursday.  Remember this and share what you have to offer.  After being so useful in the group, people will associate your ministry, business or church with that level of helpfulness and want to engage in what you have to offer.

10. Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated

Do you want people to watch your Youtube video, listen to your podcast or read your blog post?  

Do you watch other people’s Youtube videos, listen to their podcasts or read their blog posts?  Treat other people the way you want to be treated, especially in the online space.

11. Make Great and Relevant Content

Most importantly, make content that’s relevant to your audience so they’re curious and want to keep coming back or dive deeper into your content.  As you develop a collection of great and relevant content, you can share it in the group when a question comes up related to your ministry. If the first piece of content is great, they’ll be more likely to look at the other things you have to offer.

Following these guidelines is a great way to start to expand your reach and make an impact on the people you’re trying to reach.

What ways are you using to help grow your ministry, business or church through online groups?

This blog post was originally published on 14 May 2020 on the Digital Discipleship website about Facebook groups and your church

How to Improve Your Church’s Social Media Presence

Do you wonder how to improve your church’s online presence? Do you spend a great deal of time creating and posting content online for your church but you’re still left wondering if anyone sees it or if it’s making a meaningful difference?

Do you find yourself in board meetings staring at blank faces that just don’t get it or being met with responses of “we don’t have enough resources for that” when you’re trying to convince key decision makers of the importance of having an online presence for your church?

If you’re the communications director of a church or conference office, or if you’re a pastor or a person who’s interested in online church communications, then you’re in the right place!

The biggest problem you’re wrestling with is if your church’s social media, website or livestream is having the biggest impact possible.  You wonder if your content is being found by the people you’re trying to reach or if it’s just being shared by your mum and a few faithfuls from your church.

The one thing that keeps you up at night is knowing that there are so many opportunities out there, but you want to make sure that what you invest your time and the church’s money in will really make a significant difference.

And sometimes you just don’t know how to get started or how to cut through the noise online.

You hate to admit it but every so often, you get really discouraged, wonder if it’s all worth it and are tempted to give up.

While you understand in your heart that building an online community will be effective in reaching the people you want to talk to, you need some way to measure success to show that all your effort is really working

Well, if you keep reading, you’ll discover a plan for how you can set-up an online presence that will make a difference to your church and to your online community.  We’ll outline how to transform your local church communication department into a ministry that’s a vital part of your church’s outreach efforts.

Though you may already understand it in theory, you’ll see in practice why the local church’s communication department serves more than a marketing function for the rest of the church.

And you’ll understand why your job extends beyond preparing the bulletin and sending out e-mails to the church members!

When executed well, the church communication department has the possibility to reach out to the community in a way we haven’t previously experienced as a church.  In fact, when your ministry is empowered and structured properly, it can act as a strategic partner for each of the other church ministries!

So let’s get started!

First things first, who cares about social media

Who cares about social media anyway? Isn’t that just something the kids are doing?

This has been the ongoing assumption from the church for the last decade and as a result, we’re missing out on one of the biggest opportunities!  In the past, our marketing has been the equivalent of throwing stuff at the wall and hoping it sticks.  Now, with social media, we have the best of both worlds – wide, yet targeted, reach.

So, when asking who cares about social media, your church should.

However, since you’re here with me reading this article, I know I’m preaching to the choir.  You get it already.  However, I want you to also move beyond the thinking that social media is just for “young people’.  If your members or the people you’re trying to reach have a phone or a computer and use the internet, this is relevant to them.

The main difference will be the platform we find them on, but if statistics are any indicator a lot of church members and the people you’re trying to reach can be found online. The trick is knowing and understanding whereto find them.

Why does your church have social media accounts?

The more important question is why does your church have social media accounts?  Why are you online?  Is it because everyone else is doing it? Are you suffering from a bit of FOMO? Is it just to post pretty scripture pictures?

I guess at the heart of my question is does your church have a plan for its social media accounts?

And answering this question actually begs a bigger question – why does your church exist?  What’s its unique calling as a church? And more specifically, what is your church’s plan this year to carry out that calling?

What is your church’s strategy?

Who are you trying to reach? Do you have any special campaigns happening?  Are there any special outreach initiatives?  What are the goals of your church’s ministries?

Understanding the answers to these questions can give you a bit of perspective.

So, the first step in your process of bringing life and significance to your church’s social media accounts is to understand your church holistically.  Understand what your church is trying to accomplish and who you’re trying to reach.  This is your first task.

Why are you still reading? Go find out…

Just kidding, just kidding! Stay here with me.  To make this process a bit easier for you, you can click here to download our checklist to keep track of the tasks we’ll be giving you along the way.

In fact, I’m going to split your work into phases to make it more digestible for you.  The first phase is Pre-Work so let’s get stuck into it!

Phase I: Pre-Work

  1. Talk to the other departments, the board and your pastor to understand the church’s goals and strategy.

I want you (and your team, if you’re blessed to have one) to get clear on your church’s mission statement.  This will inform the type of content you’ll post on your social media account.

The closer you can align your work to the church’s mission statement, the greater value the communications ministry will provide to the church.  As the pastor and the various departments see you as a vital, strategic partner, your ministry’s value will become more apparent to them.  Alignment to the mission will also help you feel like an important member of the team as you work cooperatively with the other departments in the church.

  1. Think of the different ways your church can minister to your community and how your community can engage with you.

In meeting with the various ministries in the church, the pastor and the board, what are the plans they have to reach the community? What outreach methods are they employing?  What services are they offering to the community?  Here are a few ideas to jumpstart your conversation with them.

  • Do you have a food bank?
  • Do you have a Bible study group?
  • Do you offer a vegetarian cooking class?
  • Do you have a Pathfinder club?
  • Do you offer a play group or kids art class?
  • How do you plan to grow these ministry outreach activities?

Make a list of everything your church offers as well as the dates of those offerings.  This will help you as you plan for your church’s communication and social media plan.

  1. Based on your conversations, understand who your church is trying to reach and engage.

In talking to the various departments, try to understand who they are trying to reach with their ministries.  You can do this by prompting them with some of the following questions:

  • Who is this program for?
  • If you could hand pick the people who would attend this program, who would be there?
  • If this program worked out perfectly according to your plan, who would be sitting in the audience?

Now, let’s be perfectly realistic, you may find that the ministries you’re trying to support look at you with a blank stare, as though you’re an alien species who just stepped off of Mars when you try to engage them in these conversations.

It could be they’ve never thought about these things or had the questions asked of them.  Don’t be put off.  Ask them to think about it and offer to return in a week.  Or, if they’re completely at a loss and a week of additional thinking won’t spur any creative thinking, offer to sit and brain storm with them.  Get a small group together if it will prompt their thinking.

If you find you’re not getting much from the conversation and you’re having to brain storm alone don’t fret.  There are still ways we can gather the information we need alone.

If you receive tremendous feedback from your ministry leaders then perfect!  You’re beginning to develop a strategic partnership with your local church ministry leaders, which is a real step forward!

  1. Learn about your local community

In this step, you want to get a feel for who you’re trying to talk to, and those people should be located in your local community.

So consider the following questions.

  • What are the characteristics of your local community?

Do you live in the same town as your church?  If so, it should give you a good idea of your community’s demographics.  Think about your neighbours and friends in your local suburb.  This is who you’re trying to reach and talk to.

A good way to understand them a bit better is to check out social media accounts they’re frequenting.

For example, the Berowra Community Group — an area where I lived previously — has over 7,700 members in it.  People in the group are local to the area or are in some way affiliated with the area.

Berowra Community Group

Recently, a major catastrophic weather event happened in the area so much of the conversation in the group is around the community’s needs post-storm.

This gives you, as a church, an idea of what the concerns are of your local community.  As a result, the content on your social media accounts can reflect the needs of the community.

Although it may seem obvious to you, I feel like it must be said, I’m not suggesting that you go in the group and advertise the church.  The first way to annoy your local community is by using social media pages and groups for things other than their intended purposes.

I’m suggesting that you do a bit a research – understand the people you’re trying to talk to.  Get a feel for their concerns, their lives and the language they use.

The reason your social media accounts are failing to cut through the noise is because you’re not talking about things that matter to the people you’re trying to reach.

Your town might have a social media account.  Local restaurants, business associations, libraries and groups are great virtual town squares to help you understand what your potential audience is interested in.

  • Who are they?
  • What are they talking about?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What are they concerned about?

Being an active member of your local online community can answer many of these questions.

Most importantly, don’t be creepy.  Just be normal.  Be a part of the community and learn the language and the pain points – or the most annoying things – your people are facing.

Here are a few additional examples.  See if you can find similar online communities in your area.

Hills District Mums Community Group

Hills Shire Times 

Hills SES

The next step is Digital Marketing 101.

Make a few profiles of the people you’re trying to reach.

Talking to the church ministries should have already started giving you an idea of who you’re talking to.  You may group them like this:

  • Mums who need community
  • People who want to get healthy
  • Single dads who need support
  • Elderly people who are lonely

After you’ve identified the people you’re trying to reach by talking to the church ministries and doing your own research, make a few profiles of the people.  They’re usually called “avatars”.

Write everything you know or that you imagine about these avatars.

  • What do they like and dislike?
  • What worries them and keeps them up at night?
  • Where do they work?
  • Do they have kids?

Add as much detail and flavour to it as possible because it will help you know and reach the people you’re trying to talk to.

We don’t often think about creating profiles for the people we’re talking to in church because the gospel is for everyone, however, that doesn’t mean you need to talk to everyone at the same time.

In a city blessed with 50 or 100 Adventist churches, it becomes more evident that there is a variety of churches to meet the various geographic needs and affinities in the community.

People are making their church decisions based on proximity and affinity so it’s good to be equipped to speak in those terms on your social media accounts.

Phase II: Prepare a Strategy

Now that you’ve done a bit of preparation, you’re ready to start thinking about your strategy.

When you create your strategy, I just want you to answer the question where your church is going, how you’re going to get there and how your ministry – the communications department — is going to contribute to that.

This is an important piece. You won’t be able to accomplish the ministry’s goals, but you will be able to play a role in it.  Clearly define what your role will be in that process.

Here, you can also decide if you have any specific ministry goals of your own for your department or if you solely see your job as helping the other ministries carry out their goals.

You can paint this picture in big strokes.  We don’t need the detailed nitty gritty at this point.  We’ll get into that in a future step. For now, begin to cast a vision and pull together all of the things you’ve been learning so far.

As you’re writing out the strategy, which could be as simple as a few lines (think of it as your guiding light), don’t worry at this stage about how you’re going to get it all done, just decide where you want to go.  Paint a picture of what success will look like and an overview of what your ministry will do to achieve it.

Also, in this step, create a strategy about what you’ll share online and why.  This will clarify a lot for you down the road as you start to be presented with lots and lots of options.  It will help you filter out those things that are important from those things that are not important.  It will also help you understand when to say “yes” and when to say “no”.

Most of all, don’t feel too intimidated to put something down on paper; you can always hit the delete button and start all over again.

Phase III: Develop a Plan

From here, we’re going to start drilling down in more detail.  This is the point where you should decide how you’re going to carry out the goals the ministry leaders, the pastor and your team have established.

What platforms do you want to be on?  Will you be posting on your website and sending e-mails.  This is the point where you’re going to start gathering the building materials.

This is the phase where we start to understand what we need to carry out this plan.

If you’re reading this and feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused because you don’t know what the building blocks are or what to include, don’t worry.  Here are a few suggestions:

1. Who is your audience?

What social media platforms do they use?  If you’re confused about this, go back to the section where we developed a profile of your audience.

If you don’t know what platform they use, find someone who fits the bill for your “avatar” and ask them what social media platforms they use.  In fact, find two or three people and ask them.  Now you’ve done a bit of research.

2. Decide the social media platforms you need to be on, but move forward with caution.

Avoid the trap that tells you that you need to be everywhere.  It’s a big trap and so easy to fall into, so let me carefully pull you back from that gaping hole with this question.

How big is your team?  If you just meekly squeaked out the word, “Me…” and held up your hand sheepishly then be realistic and don’t jump on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat.

Ain’t nobody got time for all of that!  Certainly not you.  Like most church volunteers, you have a full-time gig and you want this to be a blessing not a curse on your life, otherwise, you’ll quit before the year is over.

Choose a platform or two that you can consistently and successfully use, and stick to it.  Everyone says that Facebook is dead or dying, but I think it’s a good primary platform to start with.  It allows for a variety of different types of posts, and you can form groups, which could be beneficial for your church.

3. Now, decide the type of content you’re going to post on your accounts.

This will be answered by reviewing your strategy. What is the purpose of being on social media?

Why do you exist as an organisation?  You should continuously come back to this question in your work.  You are going to be tempted to post so many different kinds of things, but always filter your decisions through this question of why you exist as an organisation.

Your church’s mission statement isn’t just good for taking up 12 weeks of a strategic planning committee’s time every five year, it should be lived out and now is your time to shine!

For example, at Digital Discipleship,

We exist to create, inspire, encourage and resource disciples of Jesus Christ to share His love through their creativity and innovation in the digital space.

Therefore, all that we do, through programming to our website to our social media accounts reflects those objectives.

Why do you exist?  The type of content you plan to post on all of your online properties should reflect those objectives and values.

4. Use this opportunity to make a list of things you can potentially post.

To get your creative juices flowing, here are a few suggestions:

  • Tell the story of your local church members
  • Share your church’s story of how it got started
  • Share special standout quotes from the sermon
  • Share small video clips from cooking classes
  • Share special traditions from the church, like a special meal you always share
  • Provide special encouragement
  • Provide opportunities for people to be prayed for

These are just a few suggestions.  There will be further opportunities to discuss more ideas, but this should get you started with the types of things you can post, and we’ll get into more detail in the next phase.

Fellow Communicator, I just want to give you a pat on the back and commend you for sticking it out!  You’re doing a great job and the work you put in now will make a huge difference in the online life of your church.

Phase IV: Create Content & Schedule

Now, we’re on to the fun part, creating content.  Most people start here, but as you can see, we’re on Phase IV, so that means there are three phases they’ve skipped.  Developing a strategy up front will make your work so much easier down the road.

As you create content, please keep this in mind.  One of the things that can get lost online, especially from corporations and churches is a touch of humanity.  We often become so sanitised in our communication that people lose touch with the fact that there’s a human behind it all!

So, in creating your content, be sure to provide a human touch – a heavenly human touch if that’s possible.

You want people to have an encounter with Christian people who’ve been in touch with Jesus.  When I say human, I don’t mean to allow your human anger to come through – because people will try you on the internet.  I mean allow your human compassion to come through.

Don’t be fooled by the web of apps, technology and algorithms. Behind each comment, mini-picture and profile, is a living, breathing human being (except when it’s a bot 😊) and we should never lose sight of that!  They are our reason for existing, so as premier marketer Mark Schaeffer says, “Be More Human”.

Creating & Curating Content

One of the beauties of the internet is that there’s so much content you can share.  Once you understand your strategy, it will inform what that content might be.

Have you decided that you exist to help your church members grow in discipleship? If so, you will want to regularly share spiritual encouragement with them.  This will inform the type of content you’ll want to curate and create.

This idea of curating and creating fits squarely within the Digital Discipleship ecosystem of Content Creation, Content Distribution and Content Engagement, but that’s a conversation for another time.

Scheduling Content

As much as possible, try to schedule content natively on its platform.  If the platform offers you a scheduler, try to use it.  This is especially true with Facebook, as it favours its own scheduler and supresses the reach of content not scheduled on its native scheduling platform.

There are many schools of thought on how many times you should post a day on various platforms and if you’re a super keen learner, you can Google more about this.

On Facebook, you can post between 2 or 4 times a day, spaced out throughout the day.  On Instagram, you can post 1 time a day and on Twitter, go for it mate!  Post as much as you want because no one will see it anyway.  😊 Just kidding.  Twitter offers a firehose of content so you can post continuously with a scheduler and when a person visits your feed they’ll see what you’ve posted.

Phase V: Foster Community

This is the step that’s among the most important and it is to foster community!

Many people – especially church social media pages – treat social media like a glorified bulletin board, where they’re posting tons of announcements, pretty pictures and events. However, social media is something more.  It’s an opportunity to talk and be heard.

Nowadays, success can be measured by the amount of conversation you’re creating and engaging in, and this is the part that requires a bit of savvy.

You might be naturally wondering how you can create conversations on social media.  Here are

6 ways to create and engage in conversations on social media

1. Create conversations by asking questions

Ask questions that are relevant to your audience to get them talking. You can also use these moments to learn more about your audience on your social media accounts.  If you’re worried about crickets in the early stages, get a few church members to spark the conversation by being the first to answer every time.  This will give you a bit of confidence and prompt others to crawl out of their shells and join in the conversation.

This is an example of a conversation that happened on the Digital Discipleship Facebook page.

2. Join ongoing conversations

Find conversations that are already happening on other Facebook pages and on church members’ pages. Find an opportunity to pop in the conversation and add value.  Remember to frequently review your church’s mission and the strategy you established.  This will help you remember to speak in the voice of your church and not yourself. Ensure all of your conversation, when using the church’s social media pages, are reflective of the church and aren’t just an echo of you, your voice and your opinion.  It should go without saying but be kind. Ask yourself, what would Jesus do on the internet. Go and do likewise.

You can even train some of your local church members to do this as well.  Have them join ongoing conversations in some of the local online town squares.  Not to fight or to argue a point, but to mingle and meet needs as Jesus did.

This is living out the oft’ quoted Ellen White paragraph in the digital space:

“Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’” – Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 143.

How is your church living this out in the online space?  Joining ongoing conversations and looking for needs is a way you can get started!

3. Respond to questions

Make sure to respond kindly to questions asked on your page. If your church or another Adventist website has a resource that can be useful, share it in response to the question.

This brings me back to the Digital Discipleship Ecosystem of Content Creation, Distribution and Engagement.  As you respond to questions, remember the various online properties the church has.  An article or video or magazine from The Record, Signs of the Time, Mums at the Table or your local Conference office could be just the ticket your person needs.  As you engage online, think holistically about the resources that are available to you.

4. Be part of the online community in your local area

Another unexpected way you can foster community is by going to accounts and pages in your area and finding lovely ways to participate in community and to be part of your local community in the online space.

The best way to do this in a way that is in keeping with your church’s expectations is to ensure it aligns with your church’s mission and that the ministry you’re speaking on behalf of is aware and on board with what you’re saying.

That being said, participating in the local community online is such an untapped opportunity, as we talked about in #2 of this section.

5. Provide encouragement

It’s very likely that this goal is aligned with your church’s mission. Very often we wonder why people are not engaging with our social media accounts as page admins, but are we engaging with them?  Do we care about them and are we taking every opportunity to show it?

Use this as an opportunity to encourage your members – if it’s their birthday, acknowledge it on their page from the Church’s account.  Celebrate an achievement, acknowledge something they’ve done at church that’s worthy of applauding.  Take this opportunity to encourage someone else.

6. Practice the Romans 12:15 Principles

This idea dovetails nicely with the final way you can create conversations, which is the Romans 12:15 principle – rejoice when others rejoice and mourn when other mourn. Find opportunities for empathy as you’re online and operating the churches social media accounts.

Phase VI: Evaluate Your Work

One of the most important things you can do from here is to constantly evaluate your work.  Measure what you’re doing and who you’re connecting with against your initial goals, against the strategies and the people you want to reach.  Are you reaching them?

One of the best ways to measure your success is by how people are responding to the information you’re putting in front of them and how they’re responding to your calls to action.

What’s a call to action, you may ask, well, it’s when you ask the people in the online world to do something.  This is why we established a strategy in the beginning.  As you talk to the people, call them to action.

The ministries you support should have given you specific events they want people to attend, resources they want them to use and places on the church’s website they want them to access.  These can be formed into calls to action and included with various posts.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to assess the success of your work online:

  1. What, if any, pieces of content is getting the most engagement on your social media accounts? This might answer a question for you about what your audience needs.  Listen to this
  2. Are you generating any conversation? What are people talking about?  Are they bringing up needs and if so, is your church meeting those needs?
  3. Are people taking you up on your calls to action? Are they accessing the resources you want them to access?  If so, your work is spot on.  If not, no sweat.  Let’s go back to the drawing board and ask why and make a few adjustments.

Cutting through the noise in the online space and making an impact with your social media presence is an act of research, action, evaluation and iteration.  It’s a continuous cycle of listening to your community and adjusting.

Bravo for getting this far and for your commitment and dedication to growing your church’s online ministry for the cause of Christ!

If you want a quick reference guide to remind you of what we’ve learned together, download our Checklist on How Improve Your Church’s Social Media Presence!

Written by Rachel Lemons Aitken. At the time of publication, Rachel was digital transformation strategist & founder of Digital Discipleship Ministry of the Australian Union Conference.

This article was originally published on the Digital Discipleship website 5 April 2019 about improving your social media for your church

17 Types of Content to Share on Your Church’s Social Media Account and Why

If you’re the communication director or the media ministry leader at your church, you may rack your brain each week wondering what to post on your church’s social media accounts.

Or you may be the church pastor wondering how to encourage your communication ministry leaders.

You know you want to get more engagement and you want your ministry to be more than just a bulletin, but how do you know what to post?

AND the bigger question is whyshould you be posting it.

Here are a few ideas to get your started…but first, I want you to do a little exercise. (There’s always a catch, right?) This is pretty painless, and it will make knowing what to post so much easier.

Answer this question: why does your organisation exist?

What’s your mission statement — 

your raison d’être?  

If you’re not sure how to answer, we dealt with this question and how it relates to your church’s social media account in the article, “The Most Actionable Plan on How to Improve Your Church’s Social Media Presence”.

So, two things can happen here.

  1. You can figure out your church’s mission statement or
  2. You may find that you don’t get much cooperation from the church.

Either way, the next step is to make sure your communication ministry has a mission statement.

If you get a response from the church, make sure your mission statement aligns with theirs.  If you don’t get a response from them, make sure your mission statement aligns with Jesus’ reason for the existence of the church.

Personally, the first thing I do when I start a new job is try to understand:

  • why the organisation exists and
  • why my department or role exists.

Then, I filter all my work through those two ideas.

For example, when I worked in the Communication Department at Greater Sydney Conference, in the top left corner of my white board, I wrote the reason for my department to exist was to: “Inform, Inspire, Engage and Resource our local church members”.

So I filtered all my work through that.

In setting up the Digital Discipleship ministry, I established that our reason for existing was to

“Create, inspire, encourage and resource disciples of Jesus Christ to share His love through their creativity and innovation in the digital space.”

Just by writing that out and reviewing it regularly, your head will fill with even more things you can share.

So let’s jump into the ideas on what you can share.

1. Pretty Pictures – Shareable Content

The most common go-to for church social media accounts is to create and post scripture posts.  You know the kind with a nature photo or a person looking thoughtfully into the sunset with a scripture overlay?  Yup! You know the one!

These are a great go-to piece of content because they are shareable.  Especially when they’re well done.  So, don’t shy away from this type of content just because it’s commonly used.  It’s popular for a reason.

Inspirational photos are good for sharing for churches

Using the mission statements from my role in the communication department at Greater Sydney Conference and in the Digital Discipleship ministry at the Australian Union, pretty scripture pictures would fulfil both missions.

Greater Sydney Conference Communication: Inform, Inspire, Engage and Resource our local church members

Digital Discipleship Ministry: Create, inspireencourageand resource disciples of Jesus Christ to share His love through their creativity and innovation in the digital space.

2. Content that Engages – Asks questions and gets people to engage

You want to share content that gets engagement and gets people to talk.  Ask them questions that are short and simple to answer.  They don’t always need to be serious, life-changing questions, but they can be enough to get your audience talking and engaging.

Don’t feel bad if the question doesn’t get answered, just chalk it up as a lesson.  That topic doesn’t get your audience talking.

Here’s an example of how we’ve done it on the Digital Discipleship Facebook page:

3. Shared Content

Look for content that has gotten good engagement on someone else’s page and fits with the reason why your church and communication ministry exist.  Share it on your account.

The reason for putting this type of content on your social media is because it has already done well somewhere else and it has a reasonable chance of doing well on your account also.

We encourage you to schedule your content, using a platform native to the social media site you’re on so as you see content you want to share, save it and schedule it to post at times you determine are best for your audience.

4. Calls to Action Content

In our article, Having a Call to Action Can Revolutionise Your Church’s Digital Presence, we shared the reason for including calls to action and we even shared several examples of how to align your calls to action with your church’s strategy.  If you’d like more detail on this aspect of digital ministry dive deep into that article.  This is a very effective piece of content you can include in your content strategy.

5. Live Content 

Many churches are already engaging in this strategy, but including live content online can be a good way to engage your audience, especially if you think about what the people you’re trying to reach want or need.

However, if you think your church service is the only time you can go live, guess what, there are other times you can go live, for example,

  • Do a cooking demo
  • Show what’s happening at a church event
  • Greet people online in the lobby of the church before church starts to invite people to come in
  • Share what it’s like to do outreach by going live during an outreach event
  • Go live with a mid-week prayer or Bible study during lunch time

You might come up with even more creative ideas if you go do a bit of brainstorming with your team.

6. Featuring Your Congregation 

Your church is really just a collection of people.  Try telling their stories and the testimonies of your congregation. Tell the story of how your church started.  Share the outcome of events, not just the photos but the stories that happened during the event.  Let people live vicariously through your story telling on your page.

7. Show what life looks like at your church

People often use social media as a window to peer in.  They want a community to belong to.

Show what life looks like at your church. Share photos of potluck, Pathfinders and other events.  You can also do this effectively with videos as well.  Give people a taste of what life would be like if there were to be a member of your church.

8. Share Events 

This is something churches naturally share – upcoming events.  Talk about what’s happening at your church. Share the events that are going to take place.

One way to get more attention when you share events is to talk to your community even when you don’t have an event coming up.  This way, you have their attention all year long, not just when you want them to do something.

A groundbreaking idea in this area is to be cooperative with other churches in your Conference who are located nearby.  Why not form an alliance with them to share some of their events that might be useful to your community and you can share some of their events.

9. Share useful content from the ministries you support 

Stay in touch with the ministries you support like Pathfinders, Women’s Ministry and Family Ministry. Meet with them or send them an e-mail every few weeks or months to see if they have any resources you could share or upcoming events.

You may have to push them to get resources to you.  It’s likely their go-to idea for social media will be promoting their latest event.  Encourage them to provide resources, like an article, short video or set of tips to the online community that can engage with the audience and get them to feel more welcome

10. Share offers from your Conference Office, Union or Division.

It’s likely that your Conference Office, Union and Division have offers that can be useful to your audience.  There are offers for online Bible studies, free magazines, books, videos and events.  Check with them periodically to see what they have to offer and offer them periodically to your community.  Who knows, you might end up offering just the thing your audience is seeking.

For example, Hope Channel offers a variety of online courses on its website.  Perhaps you can choose one to share once a month.  It could be that your audience has no idea these resources exist and your social media account can shine light on them.

11. Share resources your church offers, like articles you’ve written or information you have

What offers does your church have?  Do you have any articles on your website that are useful to your audience?  Do you have any ministry offers you can make?

Regularly share the resources your church offers on your social media accounts.  Remind people about your church library, tell them about play group, remind them of your regularly held potlucks, tell them about mid-week small groups.  How are you sharing your church’s resources on your social media accounts?

12. Ask people if they need prayer

Get in the practice of regularly asking people if they need prayer.  Give them the option to send your page a private message or to comment and ask you for prayer.  Work with your prayer ministry to gather those prayers and pray for them regularly.  If people give you permission, you can share some of the answers to prayer or have people be able to share their prayer requests

13. Make regular offers for Bible studies

Are you making regular offers for Bible studies on your social media accounts?  This is something you can incorporate into your ministry outreach online.  Make sure you’ve spoken with your pastor or elders to ensure there’s a follow-up process for people who do wish to study the Bible.

14. Feature your ministry leaders

Share information or the testimony and even the vision of your ministry leaders.  Not only does it give you content for your social media accounts, but it also gives you an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of your church ministry leaders.  In sharing their vision for their ministry, you can also share some of the things their ministry offers.

15. Share opportunities to volunteer

Are you sharing volunteer opportunities online?  Are you telling your members specific areas where you need help?

Let people know how they can get involved.  This also lets visitors or those thinking about joining know that your church is active and there is space for them to get involved

16. Feature the various ministries in the church

It might surprise you to know that not every knows that your church has a prison ministry, a children’s ministry, a cooking ministry, a singles ministry and an outdoors ministry.  Have the ministries featured regularly on the church’s social media accounts.  This can raise awareness and engagement for the church.

17. Share local events that are happening

Ask yourself within your local church, how can we be good members of our local community in the digital space?  How can you share local things that might be relevant to your community, like healthy cooking classes, children’s resources and exercise?  This one might be the most challenging but can give you an opportunity to be part of your local community.

This blog post was published on the Digital Discipleship website on 30 April 2019 around the topic of church and social media