Why Facebook is Important for Your Church
Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor, Poquonock Community Church, Windsor, CT
“Facebook is a fad. It will come and go just like other communication methods before it. It will be replaced by another form of social media after it.” Those statements may sound like a justification for dismissing Facebook as non-essential to our ministries, but the truth is the church cannot ignore its importance.
If our churches’ goal is the advancement of God’s Kingdom by engaging the most people we can for the gospel, to serve our surrounding communities, and to bring people to salvation; then ultimately, we want people to leave Facebook and have real conversations and develop real relationships— not virtual ones. We want people to engage with our churches, not Facebook.
As leaders of the church, we can’t ignore that over 2 billion people worldwide not only use Facebook, but do so on average 20 minutes a day. The most significant age bracket of users is between the ages of 25-34 making up to 30% of the total users of Facebook. 1 in 5 of all internet pages used in the United States are Facebook webpages. (Source zephoria.com) If you want to reach people where there are for the sake of Jesus Christ, according to the numbers, Facebook is an active virtual mission field that can’t be ignored.
So, how do people leap from being fed by their Facebook feed to being fed by the Word of God in community with other believers? The church needs to be present on Facebook as much as they should be present in non-virtual communities (i.e., the real world). First, you must have basic knowledge of how Facebook works. Facebook and other social media have built-in algorithms to bring “posts” that are engaged by the greatest numbers of people to the top of a user’s newsfeed. In other words, the more people engage with your church Facebook page or group; the more others will see your content.
My small church in the suburbs of Hartford, CT has about 70 members and regular attendees, but our Facebook page has over 200 members. So, every time we post an event, a picture, or an update on our ministry, potentially 130 people who are not a part of our fellowship are getting updates about our church.
In the past, we’ve paid for articles in the newspaper, but today, we use less money by advertising our church events on Facebook. We can target advertisements toward a certain demographic depending on the type of event. Our free Easter Egg Hunt last spring, meant to bless families in our community, saw over 100 children attending simply by spending $50 on a targeted Facebook Ad. There are many free options on Facebook as well. Sharing your posts and events on Town Groups can just as effective.
Beyond what your church can post to communicate the gospel, current trends show that people “church shop” in person far less than they once did. They’d rather make their decision based on your Facebook page and website before they even come into your church building. We recently had a couple move to town who knew all about us as a church long before we knew who they were because they had studied our website and Facebook page to determine we were the church them.
Facebook is a tool. You may not have the time or the expertise to engage people with it, but find someone from your church who does and partner with them. The hope is that someone scrolling their Facebook page may engage with your church and ultimately with the gospel of Jesus Christ.