|The challenge is plugging in the right people in the right place.|
At the church I go to, the auditorium doubles for both worship services and a meeting space for meals and special programs. So when we have a dinner after services the congregation jumps in and starts moving chairs, rolling out tables and putting out place settings. The 200 seat auditorium becomes a hall set up for food service in less than a half an hour because, many hands make light work and everyone knows their job.
As the minister you may have wanted to start communicating in a better way to your community and you realize that social media may be the answer. You have lots of ideas buzzing around your head, but there is just no time to get it all done. How is this conundrum any different than setting up tables and chairs? The same philosophy applies. Many hands make light work.
The key is to plug in the right people in the right way to your plan for reaching outside of your walls. Here are some tips to get started:
- Have a Plan - No communication effort needs to take place before you have a plan in place. Run some general thoughts by other leaders at the church and peers and get their input. Think about which social media outlets you wish to participate in, then put goals and objectives in writing. An example of an objective could be complete a Facebook page by a certain date. A goal could be an actual number of "Likes" by a certain date. Use other churches in similar sized communities for help with numbers. In your plan write down the purpose for each social media venue you wish to engage in. Some could be informative for the congregation others may be specifically outreach.
- Plug People In - Throw a way all of your preconceived notions. In our church over 10% of all of our likes come from women over 65 years of age that's ten times the Facebook average. They don't set up tables for fellowship dinners but they post to Facebook like crazy. Try to find someone from each demographic in your church if possible. Keep your team limited to core members. Fringe attenders could raise problems by not accurately depicting your church to the community.
- Provide Guidelines - No rules or laws please. This has to be a fluid experience for the participants with general rails to guide the team. Suggested guidelines could include frequency of posts, who is allowed to be an administrator, the process of posting official church information, who can help with proof reading or technical questions or how to handle negative comments.
- Let Go and Support - This could be the most difficult step for some ministers, but this will not work if you have to see everything before it is posted. Trust the team that is in place. As minister your job is to provide some content, monitor, general guidance and "Likes" and "retweets". You should also be the biggest cheerleader, reminding people on Sunday and at every opportunity to help the social media team.
- Check Goals Quarterly - Have a meeting to celebrate and brain storm. Ask your group why you hit one goal but missed another? Maybe you need to drop one effort to promote another better. Goal revision is often needed and out of the box thinking is a must.
With the right plan and execution you can increase your relevancy in your community. This will also equip the congregation with one more tool that they can use to let their friends know about God.