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:
- Use your social media tools for interaction as well as broadcasting news and info.
- 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.
- 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.
- Conduct online discussions.
- Present ideas and ask people for feedback.
- 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.
- Help build relationships by encouraging members to connect with each other.
Here are three additional ideas I’d add to Dave’s list:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
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.