Quick question. If you want to engage with your community, what do you think is the best way to do that?
There are a variety of good things you could do (helping out with a community event or volunteer at an area school are good ones). However, I believe the most effective strategy you can have at reaching your community, especially those who don’t go to your church or are involved in your ministry is to be on social media.
Social Media is no longer a novelty or cutting edge activity for ministers to do, it’s a MUST. And, if you want to be successful at reaching this generation for Christ, you NEED to be on it. Why? Simply put, because this is where people are these days. Whether it’s a tween, teen, millennial or adult, they are on their phones or tablets using some form of social media.
“Come on Tom, not everyone is on social media. It’s just a passing fad and a big waste of time. I have more important things to do than to sit in front of my phone or computer liking photos. I don’t really need to be on social media as a minister . . . do I?”
Let’s consider these stats:
- In 2015, close to 1.7 billion people have active social media accounts. And according to emarketer.com, by 2017 there will be a total 2.55 billion people on social media. That is BILLIONS, not thousands or millions but BILLIONS of people.
- On average, Generation Y spends two hours a day on their smartphone and use six mobile apps a day. By 2020 they will make up 50% of the workforce.
- 53% of Internet users aged 18-29 use Instagram.
And what are they doing online? Here are just five things people do on social media:
- They stay in touch with friends.
- They meet new people.
- They enjoy sharing details of their life with others.
- They stay up to date on the latest news.
- They find entertaining content.
Do you still consider it a waste of time to be on social media? I hope not. Because of these simple reasons alone, this is the perfect reason for you to be on social media yourself.
Social Media is one of the easiest, most engaging ways to meet new people in your community and begin to develop relationships that can hopefully lead to furthering the kingdom of heaven in some way.
So the question shouldn’t be, “do I really need to be on social media as a minister?” but “where do I start?”
Here are a few suggestions and ideas. For starters, start small and don’t overdo. Start with Facebook and Twitter or Instagram (three of the most popular social media networks), become “friends” with your friends. Then start posting once a day about what you are up to or sharing pictures about what you are doing. You can even “like” or comment on a few of your friends posts. It all starts there and before you know it you will be meeting new friends and be able to have some great conversations about life and God. It happens, trust me.
For all these reasons and stats above, social media engagement from ministers is no longer an option. It has become one of the most effective ways to do ministry in this ever-changing, digital world we live in.
Can it be overwhelming? You bet, but most things are at first. That is why you should start small and work your way up from there. If you are still hesitant, get a teen or young adult to help you figure it out. It could be a great connection for you with those you are ministering to.
Ultimately, the bottom line is to make sure you are on. I cannot stress this enough, if you want to be successful at reaching this generation of young people and families, being on social media is no longer an option. It’s a necessity.