I read The Social Church yesterday. It was a nice distraction from all of the Superbowl pre-game chatter. I thought I would learn how to use Social Media to promote churches and ministries. I was wrong.
This was not the book I thought it was. Rather than a “how-to”, it was not only a “why to”, but it was a “why to … NOW“. Yes, the author says up front that this is not a how-to. But I somehow missed that.
Being a “why to … NOW” book proved it to be much more insightful than a “how to” would have been. The author, Justin Wise, points out that Social Media is to us today what the printing press was to Martin Luther and what TV was to Billy Graham.
Yes, Social Media is THAT revolutionary.
And churches that do not employ Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, Text Messaging, etc. may go the way of the buggy whip manufacturers of the early 20th Century … for the same reason.
Most churches have used print media for the past hundred years to communicate orders of service, calendars, announcements, prayer requests, and invitations for special events like Vacation Bible School. Just like businesses have for the past hundred years.
But today’s businesses have begun dividing their communication budgets between traditional media (Print, TV, Radio, Billboards) and Social Media. And to capture the attention of today’s audiences – that is, to remain relevant in our culture – churches must do the same.
The Social Church is not just about Social Media. It’s about effectively leveraging Social Media to promote a church’s mission and vision – its “Big Idea”. And just as the printing press leveled the playing field for Luther against the monolithic, heavily-financed pre-Reformation Catholic church, Social Media can level the playing field for churches, especially those with limited budgets (but then again, what church doesn’t have a limited budget?).
The competition for a church is not another church across town. Its competition is everything else! And using Social Media can reach out to “digital natives” (those who use computers, smartphones, etc. natively), speaking to them in ways that traditional media can’t.
The Social Church won’t tell you how to do that. But it will tell you why you should. And why you should do it NOW.