I really do believe all pastors should be on social media.
I know for many it seems like a dangerous endeavor, or maybe a waste of time. But, for the reasons I’m about to share with you, I think it would be a tremendous waste of resources for us to overlook Twitter, Facebook, and other media outlets as an asset to our ministry.
I’m not unaware of the dangers or the pitfalls we might encounter along the way (I’ve encountered and overcome many of them myself). I’m just optimistic that when we commit our social media usage to God—just like anything else—he uses the tools of culture to reach lost people in His name.
Here are five reasons I think every pastor (yes, that means you) should be using social media.
1. This is the language of the culture
Especially for those of us for whom social media was a later addition to our lives—as in, we weren’t born into a world of iPhones—social media can feel a little bit like a foreign language to us.
What is a RT, MT, or emoticon?
What does “LOL” mean?
Why do they call it a tweet?
But I think it’s important for us to learn the language of our culture so we can speak directly to the people we’re ministering to. It’s the same reason Jesus spoke in parables about agriculture and fishing to his first century audience.
What would happen if we saw social media as a gift for reaching the people who need to hear about the love of God?
2. People really do find churches through Twitter
I have friends who were pastors at a small church plant, and because of an online platform they were running, they also had fairly large social media platforms. At staff meetings, the other pastors would share stories of people they had met at parks, or grocery stores, or play groups who ended up visiting the church.
By contrast, this couple would share story after story of people who had found the church because of their blog, their online magazine, or simply because someone had retweeted something on Twitter.
These people may not have ended up at church at all if it weren’t for the use of online media.
Why not use both methods to invite people into the doors of our churches?
3. Your voice and ideas matter
The online world can be a little noisy, and sometimes you might feel like you get lost in the mix. It’s easy to assume, “Everyone else is saying it better than I could say it… I don’t really need to add to the chaos.”
What if God wants to reach a specific person, or group of people, through your unique voice? Would that be enough for you to get started?
Your voice and your ideas matter.
4. It’s a way to connect with more people in less time
As a pastor—especially if you are in a big church—it’s difficult to feel connected to all the people in your congregation. But social media provides a way for you to connect with more people in less time, which in turn makes them feel more invested in the community as a whole.
And yes, it is possible to interact with people in a meaningful way online.
You’d be surprised what a simple reply, “like”, or encouraging comment could mean to someone who attends your church but doesn’t get much face-time with you.
5. It’s a window into the minds and hearts of people
Social media is an incredible learning tool. Even if you never posted anything of your own on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, if you were to just sit back and listen, I have a feeling you would learn a lot.
You would learn what people are talking about, what they care about, what makes them scared, angry and sad.
Knowing this information is bound to make you a better pastor.