10 Facebook Ideas For Your Church – Inward Outreach

Author: Kurt Steinbrueck  //  Category: Homepage, social media, Social Networking

Facebook for Churches
A lot of what we focus on here at Church Marketing Online is reaching out to share the Gospel and bring people into your church.  But it is also important to reach out to those who are already in your church.

I’ve seen many a church who did some great work in outreach and were bringing in lots of new people, but the church never seemed to grow.  The reason was that they were doing such a poor job with their existing members that people were leaving as fast as new people were coming.  Not good.

There are many elements to keeping people as members of a church.  Feeding members with spiritual food (though physical food helps too ;) ), helping them to grow, and helping them in times of need are some very important things every church needs to be doing.  But possibly the most important thing a church can do to retain membership is form and maintain a connection with its members.  Social media, including Facebook, can play a important roll in that.

I came across this article by Dave Hakes with InternetToolboxForChurches.com about ways churches can use social media to interact with its people.  It has some great ideas in it.  Some of the ideas I thought are most important are:

  1. Use your social media tools for interaction as well as broadcasting news and info.
  2. When getting started see if there are places members are already interacting and join them there.  It’s a lot easier to join an existing community than start an entirely new one and entice people to join you.
  3. Listen to what people are talking about to learn what concerns and interests people.  This not only helps with interaction, but can provide an unending stream of content ideas.
  4. Conduct online discussions.
  5. Present ideas and ask people for feedback.
  6. Keep people informed with regular updates and discussions about ongoing church projects and ministries.  I would add to this to encourage members involved in these projects and ministries to contribute as well.  So, it’s not always just the church’s leadership posting things.  Members can contribute stories, pictures, video, and even the update posts themselves.
  7. Help build relationships by encouraging members to connect with each other.

Here are three additional ideas I’d add to Dave’s list:

  1. Help to facilitate members helping each other by posting information (possibly anonymously if preferred) about needs members have.  Also, provide a way for members to post about needs as well.  For example, Suzy and Tim may be having their first baby and could really use a crib.  One of the other members may have a crib they are no longer using that they could give.
  2. Ask members what topics they would like to hear about in sermons or discuss in a Bible study.  Pastors, if you are ever having any trouble with sermons this is a great source of ideas.  This also makes sure Pastors and Bible studies are addressing the topics and issues that are closest to the members’ hearts.
  3. Spotlight members.  Generally speaking, people like to be noticed and want to feel like the members of the church (especially the Pastor and leaders) know who they are.  That’s why being able to remember someone’s name when they return for a second visit to a church is so impactful on the people.  By spotlighting members you can demonstrate that the church knows who they are and cares.  By including a short bio in the spotlight you can demonstrate that you’ve taken the time to learn about them.  This is also a great way to recognize members for the way they may be serving in the church, something especially important when they are doing those unseen tasks.

You can read the rest of Dave’s list at:

http://www.internettoolboxforchurches.com/church-social-media-use-for-internal-interaction

What do you think?

Do you have additional ideas for ways church’s can use social media to reach out to and connect with their members?  Share those ideas.

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11 Responses to “10 Facebook Ideas For Your Church – Inward Outreach”

  1. PaulSteinbrueck Says:

    Great ideas, Kurt! Thanks for posting this!

  2. Micah Hobart Says:

    What about the ability to tithe and give to the church? We have an integration built for churches that have a Facebook fan page to do just that and have several hundred churches accepting contributions through Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/PaperlessTrans

  3. Vicky Says:

    We had an angry person post some mean spirited items, and a different (unknown person) post some questionable stuff. Yes we can delete them after the fact, but I wish there was a way to review and approve or remove before they are put out there. I am cautious because of those and the questions they raised from others.

  4. Dave Hakes Says:

    Vicky, that's sad that someone would use Facebook as an outlet for anger toward the church or its members. The internet seems to bring out the worst in some people. The internet certainly is not the first time that Satan has tried to mess up an otherwise successful attempt by a church to reach out. Recognizing and handling it appropriately is key. If it hadn't been Facebook, the anger might have reared its ugly head in some other form. That being said, I agree it would be nice if there were some sort of moderation capability in Facebook that could be enabled.

  5. Dave Hakes Says:

    Kurt, I'm glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for the kind words! I hope your readers enjoy it too.

    I like the potential for this kind of informal dialogue between a church and its members to not only teach, reach inward, and communicate more effectively, but to help church leadership "keep its finger on the pulse" of the congregation. It's important to give a voice to all–not just to those serving on boards and committees.

  6. Kurt Steinbrueck Says:

    Great Micah. I wasn't aware of that app. Thanks for sharing it.

  7. Kurt Steinbrueck Says:

    Dave, I couldn't agree more. it's very important for the church leadership, be it Pastors, elders, deacons, or even Bible study leaders to know what the members of the congregation think about the things the church is doing as well as what the members are interested in or struggling with.

    You had a great post!

  8. Kurt Steinbrueck Says:

    Vicky, I don't believe there is a way to setup a review process for Facebook, but there are ways of being notified whenever someone posts to your wall. At least that way you are able to address the situation quickly. And Dave is right, recognizing the issue and handling it well is crucial in those situations. It's not uncommon for these types of situations to turn out strengthening the church's relationship with the upset person and demonstrating to everyone else the love and compassion the church has for people even when those people weren't very nice to the church.

  9. Chris Green Says:

    Hey guys, here's an updated facebook guide for timelines for churches…
    http://www.churchmediahub.com/church-facebook-pag

  10. DL Church Websites Says:

    Excellent post! I have felt before that many churches focus on newcomers more than their own faithful members, and that shouldn't be. Sure, it's important to reach out and make visitors feel welcome, but it's equally important to care for the people already attending there.

    I think a church's website should do both things – have information for newcomers like address, service times, how people dress, etc. But they also need to have things for their members. I like the things you have mentioned, and to that, I would add to have the ability for members to share prayer requests with each other, so people can be supporting each other in prayer throughout the week.

  11. james228 Says:

    these are great tips and advice for usage of social media in order to reach out more souls to win… i do hope that a lot of churches would be able to grasp this modern idea to spread the World world wide.