Church Social Media


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Church Social Media

  1. 1. Online Social Networking Tools for the Church Christopher Harker
  2. 2. Hypothesis <ul><li>Social Media more efficiently promotes deeper connections than face-to-face conversation - specifically with church based social media tools. (therefore acts as an enhancer) </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media allows development of deeper relationships between church meetings (outside of the chapel throughout the week) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Web 2.0 Goes Churchy <ul><li>If the church creates a platform of participation... younger people will come. </li></ul><ul><li>It ’s truly a new frontier and, true to form, churches are beginning to extend their reach into these new worlds for God ’s kingdom. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Blogging <ul><li>After static websites and perhaps email, it is one of most popular means for church leaders to both network with each other and communicate with their parishioners online. </li></ul><ul><li>“ I do view it as digital discipleship. I feel like I am mentoring people. I will have several thousand meetings today without really having the time to individually meet with all of those folks.” - Mark Batterson, Lead Pastor of National Community Church </li></ul>
  5. 5. Blogging continued <ul><li>Advantages - great for self expression and elicit reaction from readers </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantages - lacks ability to establish collaborative groups like other social media networks </li></ul>
  6. 6. MySpace <ul><li>Helpful in getting a deeper insight into the lives of their students. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Social networking sites can enable deeper connections and insight with others by somehow removing a filter often present in face-to-face interactions” </li></ul><ul><li>North Metro Church </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Targets young audience - music listeners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pictures of other members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chatting capabilities </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Facebook <ul><li>Ben Jones - Grace Church </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ben has encouraged his friends and associates who don ’t go to Grace to visit the Facebook site as a way of getting a feel for the church ’s culture and history. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ On Sunday mornings, there ’s a lot going on and a lot of people are not able just to go up to someone and strike up a conversation. I ’ve met a lot of people that I would normally never even strike up a conversation with. ” </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. MyChurch <ul><li>A safer version of Facebook designed specifically for believing communities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Each user can join groups in cluding their church ’s group or modify their own personal site. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ I started MyChurch out of a personal need. I only knew a handful of people out of the 800 members in our church… I felt an online community could help strengthen some of the loose offline connections made on Sunday. ” - Joe Suh -co-founder of </li></ul><ul><li>“ There still needs to be a … community of believers gathered to encourage [and] edify… one another. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>That usually happens in a meeting place on Sunday mornings, and MyChurch is trying to foster that community throughout the week through online interaction. ” (emphasis added.) </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. My Church continued <ul><li>“ Y o u really get to know someone one on a deeper level when they ’re writing their feelings. ” </li></ul><ul><li>Enabled church members to rapidly enlist prayer support </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Immediate access to all church members. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Application - online communities for LDS members to solicit support </li></ul>
  10. 10. Groopik <ul><li>Internet-based online management and communication system for small groups </li></ul><ul><li>Designed to strengthen connections in groups outside of regular meeting times </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tag supported (prayer, FHE, choir) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[Primary benefit of the software is] ke eping people connected between the times in which they meet. </li></ul><ul><li>Wh at I am discovering with the emerging generation is that they are actually more honest through the social networks than they are face to face. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Internet Campus <ul><li>Online worship service held every Sunday </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes live streaming sermon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Before and after the services, congregants gather in a virtual lobby, (online chat room where church goers can meet and talk. ) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ People [pray] for each other and encourag[e] each other… They actually will stay there often-times longer than a person will stay in a physical lobby. ” </li></ul><ul><li>Bobby also concurs with other online Christian leaders that in some way online interactions can facilitate more genuine and honest interaction. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Second Life <ul><li>Internet based virtual-world </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People sign up as avatars and can do almost anything you would do in real life. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ In some ways the way that people represent themselves through their avatar and in conversations is more real than they are in their real life. It breaks down so many inhibitions that a lot of things that are inside of them come out. ” </li></ul><ul><li>“ In a [normal] conversation that you and I might have on the street, I can ’t be asking you four sentences into the conversation if you have a relationship with God. But, ironically, inside this virtual world, that is not challenging to do. ” </li></ul>
  13. 13. Second Life continued <ul><li>Just yesterday I had an email forwarded to me that was from a 41-year old guy named Troy who is a Second Life user that found our island while roaming around the virtual world. In the email, he describes the challenges that he has faced in real life and then on to how he began crying when he watched the videos in Second Life. He went on to say “Af ter watching and praying with Craig I raised my hands confessed my sins and gave myself to Jesus for the first time in my life... what a wonderful feeling to be free of my sins, to find out how to get rid of my bitterness, most of my fears, to understand how I’v e been holding all these dark crazy things inside me for so long and now learning how to follow the path God has for me, to give myself to Jesus. </li></ul><ul><li>T here couldn ’t be any better answer to the Wh y Second Life? question than this guy ’s story. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Action Research How Churches can Impact Their Communities and Improve Efficiency and Interaction by Embracing Emerging Internet Technologies.
  15. 15. Main Point <ul><li>If social media tools are so effective at developing relationships, how effectively are they being used? </li></ul><ul><li>Survey taken of approx. 100 churches, of which 97% have less than 10000 members </li></ul>
  16. 17. Technology Enhances or Hinders Church? <ul><li>‘ On the ball’ church leaders see how the Internet can extend the reach of the church outside the church walls! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Empowering and connecting church members throughout the week with God and in their communities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Many churches see technology as an annoyance, or lack the skills, personnel, or technological know-how to really make use of the Internet. </li></ul>
  17. 29. Conclusions <ul><li>The Internet may seem like a strange place to conduct evangelism. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>web is cold, impersonal, and re-moved from the flow of reality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Defintion of the evangelism: T h e Christian practice of preaching the Gospel of Jesus to non-Christians (Wikipedia). </li></ul><ul><li>Given the likelihood that someone who is seeking information about the Gospel online will find it, it makes sense to use the web as an evangelism tool. </li></ul>
  18. 30. Conclusions continued <ul><li>A well-put-together website can be a wonderful resource for someone who is seeking God. </li></ul><ul><li>Web becomes a new platform for deeper learning </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships among members throughout the week will be strengthened </li></ul><ul><li>Fosters deeper communication of spiritual subjects </li></ul><ul><li>These are wonderful yet not fully tapped resources </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>