Social Media and The Church

Social Media and The Church

By Benjamin Juru

I’ve been involved with social media in a professional capacity for the past 3 years and I’ve seen and experienced the potency of this new media. I remember when I joined Facebook in 2006 they were only a few of us who were active on the platform that you would be happy if someone sends you friend request, now we all just ignore all the friend requests.  What worries me today is how the church of Jesus Christ particularly in Zimbabwe is not fully harnessing the power of social media to advance the message of the cross. The enemy is using social media to lure our children towards pornography, idolatry etc while we are seemingly content with preaching on the pulpit every Sunday. Jesus said that “The children of this world are wiser than the children of light” but I do not want the church of today to fulfil this scripture.

Social media is here to stay brethren, more and more social platforms will reach our shores and we need to as a church harness this to our advantage before the enemy does. I’ve seen in church young people, mostly teens will be on their phones during the service and what are they doing? they are on social media, during dinner our kids are on their phones, they are chatting, they are on Instagram liking and commenting their role models’ pictures. The church of today has a new challenge, which Paul, Peter and co never faced. The internet revolution has brought convenience but has also created new monsters we have to tame. As today’s church we do not need to shun technology but rather embrace it, we can’t be stuck in the stone age while the enemy is taking over the airwaves and I’m glad to see they are now more churches with TV channels etc. I want to highlight how we as a church can use social media to preach, reach out and share the message of Christ to the nations.

Social media is not evil

Firstly let me highlight that social media is not evil, there are no demons in social media and we need to embrace it as a church. When Zuckerberg and Dorsey went about setting up Facebook and Twitter their objectives were not sinister and neither did the enemy send them. The objectives of social media are to connect with friends and likeminded people and share your life with them. As always, what we have seen is the worst of social media, individuals being stalked to death, pornography being promoted and all other evils. The saddest thing is that the most popular individuals on social media are not preachers but music artists, actors, sportspersons etc. The resultant effect is that our teens now look to these artists as role models on social media and aspire to be like them. Our greatest challenge is that most of our teens are now using social media at a tender age and all they see is lady gaga and other controversial figures. The church needs to rise up against this new force of wickedness. As a church we need to counter this and use it to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Below I’ve listed some of the popular social media platforms you can adopt as a church and start using to build the church family, create greater interaction between the church and the congregation.

  • Facebook

Facebook is undoubtedly the top dog in Zimbabwe when it comes to social media, with a reported active base of over 1m it is the go to platform for social media. Facebook, unlike other platforms gives you a unique opportunity to create a specific page for a not for profit organization. Facebook gives your audience the opportunity to post, comment and engage with the church or senior pastor. Instead of having bible studies at home, why can’t we have it on Facebook and have people discuss the scripture on Facebook. I would bet that 70% of your congregants are on Facebook and it’s an opportunity for us to build the church and build closely knit families using social media.

Why can’t we have the word of the day from the pastor? Why can’t people inbox their issues and the pastor responds to them and provide counselling online? Lets give our congregants something to engage in. If my church is not active on social media I’m forced to look for other things to do on social media.

  • Twitter

Twitter is great for corporate communications, well PR basically. I believe every church and pastor needs to have a Twitter profile that acts as PR medium. As a church you can use Twitter to announce conferences, events, news updates etc If your church is advanced in technology why not provide live streaming links via Twitter or Ustream? Why can’t we have someone tweeting the message as it is been preached? For international churches in different locations it helps to keep the church as one family knit together by the unbreakable cords of social media.

  • Instagram

I strongly believe Instagram is equally one of the best platforms for churches, if you do marketing for your church, Instagram allows you to showcase the rich imagery, video shots etc. Personally I’m a great fan of how Bishop TD Jakes is using social media and particularly Instagram to reach out to audiences. He always posts a clip of his message and the summary and that naturally entices you to look for the full message. In Zimbabwe most of our young people love Instagram and let’s create the church presence and reach out to them.  

  • YouTube

I’m a big fan of YouTube, I’m always on YouTube for sermons. Well, despite the costs of data, which might prohibit many from spending time on the platform, it is still a great platform to showcase the work you’re doing. Zimbos have a strong appetite for good content, just ask the Zvirikufire page admin on the analytics of the page and you will be shocked. The beauty about the church is that it has no geographical boundaries or any location targeting is required, everyone can and is supposed to consume to gospel of Jesus Christ. After the Sunday message, why can’t we have it monday morning on YouTube?

In conclusion there’s no prophet who’s needed to come to town and tell us to aggressively use social media? The content is there, every Sunday the man of God is dishing our powerful messages, which we want to world to hear. If ever the gospel of Jesus Christ has to be preached to the nations as the bible says before Jesus comes, then social media has to be an integral part of that equation. If you need help to translate some of the ideas I shared into action, get in touch with me and will do it free of charge!

I rest my case

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