Director of The Media Story, podcast and blog.
One of the knocks on churches using social media is, it's all digital fluff. "No real relationships are being fostered." "No deeper connections are being formed." "It perpetuates our culture of digital voyeurism without bringing people face-to-face."
And yet for a church whose members have their cliques and clubs, how are you going to beat human nature in the familiarity of the group? How do you get folks to start thinking outside their circle, to the larger needs of the congregation, and even into the community?
Start telling stories. Pick one person in your congregation, take a nice picture, and write a little bio you can post on social media that will show everyone else in the church a face that may look familiar, but a person they don't know. All of a sudden people realize they have something in common with the person, a shared interest, or some sort of conversation starter when they do see them next time. You'd be amazed at the relationship-building that occurs with such a small effort on your part.
As you move through your congregation, start branching off into the neighborhood surrounding the building and looking for stories you can share with your congregation. When your members understand there are faces behind the doors of the houses surrounding the church, that there is pain and hurt, and there are needs, you will find your member involvement in outreach increase.
One church I worked with had a house across the street with hardened biker thugs always loitering around on the driveway. There was rarely any interaction between the church and the bikers. I decided to film an interview with the owner of the house. We were able to show the congregation how nice these guys actually were and there was even an invitation extended for the church to come have some "juice or water" anytime!
When people aren't just a face (or a skull handkerchief covering the face- darn those bugs when you're riding a bike!), it breaks down our natural walls and allows for real relationships to grow. So try telling a few stories and see where it goes!
This article was originally posted on The Media Story.