5 Reasons It’s More Important for Pastors to Use Social Media Than Churches

When I first encountered Facebook it was when I was at a speaking event on a University campus that had access to up-start social network trying to take on MySpace. The student leaders we met with for lunch we’re talking about this amazing new tool for connecting with each other. It seemed like a fun “on campus trend” but never did I imagine the impact it would have on the ministry world.  How could a tool that made it easier for a group of students figure out which pub they were heading to impact our church?

My conviction is that pastors as individuals need to be on social media.  It’s more important that church leaders leverage these tools for ministry than churches use them as organizations. As a church leader are you using these tools as an extension of your ministry or are you still stuck on the outside of this trend wondering if it really can have any impact on your ministry? You need to jump in and get connected! Here a few reasons why it’s important for you to use these tool personally …

  • Distant from Your People // If you are silent on social media you will increasingly be seen as aloof and disconnected as you refuse to be transparent to your community. Imagine a preacher who never told any stories about themselves? People will see you in the same light if you don’t use these tools.
  • Personal Medium // 87 of the top 100 accounts on Twitter are for people not brands or organizations. These tools are designed to make personal connection with people. As a church you can leverage them … but they are meant for people to connect with individuals.
  • Content Curation // Your people are out in the internet finding content of spiritual significance. Using social media to point to other sources of uplifting content is a part of your role. Equipping your people to follow Jesus can’t be outsourced to someone else … it’s a critical part of being a pastor. When you are silent on social media you are missing an vital opportunity to build up your community.
  • Insight Into People // Church leaders live in a bubble … often everyone we know is a part of the church. If we don’t work intentionally at it we will become isolated from the world we are attempting to reach. Engaging in social media gives you insight into the lives of people around you. Listen and watch what people are talking about it … it will give you insights to be a better leader.
  • Don’t Be Left Behind // Social media is moving beyond a fun tool for people to connect with friends to a critical communications channel. Not personally using social media is like refusing to have an email address or deciding that cel phones are too modern of a technology … you will become increasingly left behind by culture. You will lose influence.

It’s not about being cool … it’s about connecting.

Read more from Rich here.



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Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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What say you? Leave a comment!

Dave Corlew — 02/23/15 9:13 am

Spot on. Great article. Thanks!

Chris Bucklew — 03/20/14 10:41 pm

Spiritual Leaders need to be a voice in society. And social media is a great place to connect, and shape society. For those who think it is a waste of time I simply refer you to 2 Corinthians 10. "The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity." - the Message Bible Facebook is a place to use our God-tools! So use them well.

Lisbon Jacobs — 03/20/14 10:45 am

Im a big believer in Social media and that we should adapt to what it has to offer,but we must know where to draw the line. Jesus in Matthew chapter 23 addresses the leaders of the day and and warns them about their proud ways,where they love to be greeted in the market places and to be seen by men,today that same thing is again creeping into the church,they love the 'likes' and al the comments they get,and they advertise themselves posing in their beautifull 'robes' bragging about the amount of hits they got on their latest revelation, and dont forget the long titles and resumes.... When we use social media lets not forget that our example is Christ and we should always show people to Him.Humility is His example.

Kirby Vardeman — 07/08/13 5:21 pm

No one said social media should replace shepherding. The concept is to use it as an adjunct to face to face interaction. Why are so many Internet Christians all or nothing reactionaries?

David Noah Taylor — 07/02/13 11:57 pm

I too, fully agree with your responce Miles, I just wonder why it even needs to be stated. That anyone could entertain the idea that virtual fellowship/shepherding could replace actual fellowship/shepherding is a commentary on the sad direction many Christians are heading. Communication through typing is a terrible way to attempt spiritual fellowship. Any real communication on a spiritual and personal level requires looking into someone's face, hearing the inflections in their voice and discerning their spirit. What's next... digital communion and baptism? Click here for ... worship? And what in the world (literally) is an online church? Where is 'Convient Christianity' leading? Lastly, if the Bible is our rule and precedent and we all know it should be, then the contemporary church has not become just less socially minded than the early church it has become less biblical... and thus less valid.

Jonathan McGuire — 07/02/13 9:10 pm

The general tone of the article is pragmatic and utilitarian. However, media ecologists the world over recognize that the use, or disuse, of such tech effects not only communication itself, but also those who use it. Such effects must be understood, discussed, and taken into account when used. Sometimes, (we) pastors should, indeed, refrain from such activities...and insist our people do so, too, due to the effects they have on human behavior, interaction, and ability to understand speech or read prolonged texts. But I did find this via a Facebook post.

Miles — 07/02/13 7:37 pm

I agree with the notion that ultimately people connect with people on Twitter/Facebook. I disagree with the notion that a pastor HAS to utilize these in order to be effective. Preaching God's Word and ministering to people (in real life) are the two most critical components of pastoring. Social media would be a contextual thing. In some places it's probably more beneficial to be active, but in rural areas I can guarantee it's not as influential. Regardless, social media is a tool that should be wielded well if used (not allowed to be a distraction), but it is in no way necessary for watching over the flock entrusted to you. I'll say it like this, if your interaction with someone is mostly on social media, it is likely a mostly shallow relationship.

Tony Costa — 07/01/13 12:11 pm

Good points, but I appreciate David's concerns as well. The Church at large has become much more "Anti-social" when compared to the early church. Social media has many great benefits, but the great caution is that it never replaces or compromises the pastor's responsibility to tend his sheep in person.

Kevin Wax — 07/01/13 10:40 am

Great article! My people use social media to talk to each other and their friends. If I don't know how to use this channel, or if I refuse to use this channel, I'm losing a real opportunity to encourage them in their walk with the Lord. Well said Rich!

Mike stallings — 06/05/13 1:57 pm

I couldn't agree more...relevance is diminished or enhanced to the degree Pastors are engaged and connected.

David Noah Taylor — 06/02/13 7:05 am

I don't want to appear as one more critical opininon giver ... but... just what are you doing to provide a living demonstration of the church of the scriptures? Spouting my opinion on the social media is fun ... but just what good does it do the people who want to see an answer to the mess called contemporary christianity? I am a missionary in Kenya and am pretty fed up with the western version of church. Sorry if this sounds too critical. People are sick of hearing about Jesus without a demonstraton of what He was saying.

Janice — 06/01/13 2:35 pm

Couldn't agree more. While I'm not as savy as I wish I was, I'm keeping up and learning more every day. Love it!!!

David Good — 05/29/13 9:23 am

Great article. Social Media is such a great tool. I can't understand why pastors don't take advantage of a resource that will take their leadership beyond the pulpit and into the daily lives of their people. Thanks for sharing your insights.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
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