If you’ve spent much time on Facebook, you know that Facebook groups can be a powerful tool for leveraging the convenience of social media with the need for community. But if you’re in any position of church leadership, you also know that something like this can be tricky—and it certainly shouldn’t be done without intentionality and thoughtfulness. So, while there is no rulebook for any of this, you may need some pointers for getting started. . . .
Determine the Purpose
As obvious as it may seem, it must be said that you cannot and absolutely should not be launching a Facebook group associated with your church without first determining its purpose. There are a few common purposes that have been executed with great success:
- Support groups. It can be hard to get people together for in-person support groups sometimes, so it’s often much easier to conduct said support groups through social media. Or perhaps you have a successful support group going, and simply want to continue offering resources and encouragement throughout the week online. Either way, Facebook groups can be a valuable resource. Just don’t forget: even with a closed Facebook group, confidentiality can be challenging, so be sure to be careful when sharing sensitive information.
- Volunteer communication. Phone calls, email mailing lists, and texts are all valid means of communicating with volunteers, but using a Facebook group for this can also be exceptionally effective. Not only is it a great way to pass information along, but it’s also a really good way to connect your volunteers to each other and build community within your teams.
- Virtual church services. This is perhaps one of the trickiest options for using Facebook groups, but it also could be the most rewarding! This could happen in conjunction with your church’s service times, or it could be at an alternative time. You can offer scripture readings, a virtual message, worship (post YouTube links!), and even prayer time. The possibilities are limitless with this one.
Define the Leaders
Once you’ve decided on the purpose of your group, you must find the right leaders. Because here’s the thing: whatever you do must be maintained over time to see any amount of success. So, it is nearly impossible to do something like this well, without first implementing some leaders who can carry out the vision of your group. Find people who enjoy spending time on Facebook and who are good communicators with a sensitivity for dealing with potentially difficult situations or conflict. Empower them with training and resources to ensure they lead well, and set up regular check-ins with them.
Delegate the Work
Beyond a purpose and a leadership team, the work of keeping a Facebook group active never ends. It is going to be important that you learn how to hand off tasks and regular maintenance to your team of leaders and anyone else you want to have involved at a higher capacity within your group. Trying to control everything will result in your group being short-sighted. You can only create more wins whenever you are able to share the workload and as a result, share perspectives.
Facebook groups create so much possibility for deep community, especially with the ability to reach a much different audience than you may ever reach otherwise. But you must be willing to put in the necessary work on the front-end in order to set yourself up for the best success.
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