Facebook’s Great, But We Still Need Face Time

In Person Enhances OnlineOnline communities are a great opportunity.  Getting members connected through Facebook and Twitter is great.  But as much as all these online activities can help build community, real-world, in-person meeting is still very important.

People still need personal contact.  A good 30 minute in-person conversation can usually create a stronger bond than weeks of online communication.  So, online events and  communication are not a substitute for real-world events and conversations; rather, they enhance each other.  Better off-line relationships will create better participation in online activities.  Online activities allow for more frequent interaction between people.

Church Outreach:
Of course one of the biggest benefits of online events and communication is the opportunity to reach more people who you would not be able to reach otherwise, people who are not currently a part of your congregation.  But even then, the purpose is not just to get people connected online, but to get them to become involved with the church in the real world.

So, when you host an online event, be sure to either tie that event to a real-world event or use the event to invite people to visit the church, meet up for coffee, etc.  Don’t just say the event is hosted by the church, include a call to action.  It could be something as simple as, “Thank you for joining us for such-n-such event.  Please visit us this Sunday at such-n-such church for a message about this subject.”  If the event is about a specific topic, have the next sermon about the same topic so inviting people to church the next week is a direct tie-in to the event they just participated in.

The Follow Up:
One of the great things about online activity is people almost always leave a way for contact.  If they participate in a Facebook activity, you’ll be able to see who they are and friend their Facebook profile.  If it’s a TwitterChat, you can follow them and invite them to follow you back.  If the event requires registration, then you probably have an email address.  Whatever the format, having a way to contact a person after the event is huge.  Don’t waste it.  Have a plan for contacting people and staying connected.  The more personal you can make this contact, the better.  This event should be the start of a relationship, not just an event someone participated in.

Photo by Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library and Fire Monkey Fish

How important do you think real-world contact is?

Do you think church’s with ministries that are entirely online are as effective as ministries with real-world involvement?

About the author

Kurt Steinbrueck

One Comment

  • This is your invitation to visit my website of a new personal ministry I am starting to address concerns about impact of social media vs. personal 1-to-1 ministry. It will be a Christian Organization free to all members under the label "facetimeministries" and members will work together in their communities to bring personal, 1-to-1 time into the community to show Christ's love at work. Members will also get to use an attractive "facetimeministries" logo design on their publications and nametags, apparel, etc. as they serve Christ in community. All is free to members…..and all of this is in planning stages to be kicked off later this year when the program goes active. It is in direct response to the negative impact of social media networking that sociologists are finding to be an inflow of lots of information, with a feeling of being overwhelmed and lonely. Please visit my website for more information. facetimeministries.org. Thanks much!

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