Can the church use social media?

By October 22, 2015
(Photo courtesy of Jason Howie via Flickr)

(Photo courtesy of Jason Howie via Flickr)

USA (MNN) — According to Ron Hutchcraft, a lot of churches have websites, yet the websites aren’t drawing people in from outside the church.

“Unfortunately a lot of churches have used their website mostly to promote themselves: to tell people about their church, to introduce their staff–and there’s a place for that. But it’s really limited in terms of who really outside your church is going to care about that,” says Hutchcraft.

“What we should lead with on our church websites is felt-need-help…. Let’s start about something they care about instead of something they don’t care about. They need to care about Jesus, but they may only get to Him through something they already care about,” explains Hutchcraft.

Felt-need helps are life struggles people need guidance or boosts in, like marriages, fixing relationships, parenting, even dealing with stress. These are all things the church is capable of addressing but isn’t advertising it can.

Still, how can the church stay relevant enough to know what people are dealing with?

(Images courtesy Wikipedia)

(Images courtesy Wikipedia)

Well, Hutchcraft thinks local churches should take advantage of their resources: the people. “Let’s talk to them [the congregation] and begin to get advice from people who are in touch with that and understand the dynamics of that kind of platform,” says Hutchcraft.

“You may have some young people in your church who are kind of on the margins and not very involved…if you can ask them to help you as church leadership to develop the kinds of tools for the platforms they understand better, you might just wake them up spiritually,” explains Hutchcraft. For the Church, this is a double win. It’s a chance to engage the younger generations in their talents and unite all ages of the Church in a single task.

So really, maybe it’s time churches viewed social media not as a promotion stand, but as a way to engage the outside world. Or as Hutchcraft says, “[use it] as a ramp for people to ramp into the good news about Jesus, through you addressing things they care about in their life.”

With all the benefits, why not start up a website or some other social media platform. It would be a tool helping accomplish the church being the hands and feet of Jesus online. In the mass world of social media, a little light is helpful.

4 Comments

  • Roger Harned says:

    Yes. We need social engagement online within our individual church communities, but it is difficult to gain traction and attention even in our local world of unengaged surfers.
    ‘What’s in it for me?’ seems to be the question even online christians ask. Perhaps we need more of a small group, relational approach to multiple online communities within our church membership.
    But it all takes time and dedication of someone other than a head pastor to build online communities as part of a churches membership.

  • It is easy to ignoring needs of seekers from fear of watering down the Gospel. However, Ron is right that we must people where they are! “[use it] as a ramp for people to ramp into the good news about Jesus, through you addressing things they care about in their life.”
    Well said!

  • Walter Price says:

    A church website should be geared to the anticipated viewers. How often do non-Christians visit a church website seeking to learn about Christianity? I suspect rarely. Or gain help for their problems? Perhaps more often, but still likely to be rare. It is more likely that website visitors are Christians seeking a new church. Thus it makes sense to me that the church website should tell about the church, what visitors can expect.

    To include a section on outreach would not be wrong. But I believe the effectiveness would be limited.

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