The Church today has been experimental enough to reach beyond the church pews and use more than just the time-tested methods that it has been accustomed to. However, there are many churches which are still uncomfortable to take a leap into the boat of creative media. Out of which, the social networking is a very vital part. It is these social networks that unite people from every corner of the earth and making it a platform to communicate, connect and interact in a way that was not possible about a decade ago.
I was super happy when I managed to get my pastor friend on Twitter. The single most question pastors and many others ask is, “Since we are already on Facebook, why should we use Twitter?”
If you remember, people laughed at email when it was first introduced. Then, of course, Facebook was the perfect weapon used by the devil as distraction but now that phase has passed for most people and thankfully, I see that our pastors and even grandparents are on Facebook. I believe God can use these networks for His glory too. See our article on, Ministry and Social Networking Basics
Well for those who desire to make the most out of Twitter on the social media front, I’d like to throw some light on why and how Twitter can benefit your Church and ministry.
Twitter is as simple as updating your Facebook status. You have 140 characters and when you update something, all those who ‘follow’ you get to read it. And you get to read the updates of those you follow. That’s all that is there to it. When you reply to someone’s tweet or address someone, you can use their user ID in your update. (Example: If I wanted to mention my wife: Boarding plane now with @TinySM) You can also send a direct message to the person whom you follow(private message). You can also re-post some one else’s tweet that you like which is called a Re-tweet.
Here’s a video that gives you a simple understanding. The best way to start would be by making an account on Twitter.
I know that the first thing we all want to know is what we can get out of this. To make maximum use of Twitter for your ministry, it is also important that you give out.
You get all this!
1. Connect with believers. Let’s face it, either they already are or very soon a great crowd of your listeners will be on Twitter. What better way to connect with them on a daily basis!
2. Beyond the local Church. Twitter is a socializing platform. It’s an awesome way to interact with like-minded people and widen your network. There are potential relationships that might be fruitful in the future.
3. Your platform to your network. From announcing your events to releasing products, twitter becomes your platform to reach out to your network in a easier and effective way.
4. Announcements. Live coverage of events, sign-ups, upcoming church activities, announcing any changes in your planning; Twitter lets you share news faster than any brochures. This can also cause the news to generate more interest and engage people in discussions.
5. Prayer support. An amazing place to request for immediate prayer support.
6. Share your resources. You can tweet encouraging thoughts, quotes, articles, videos, links, etc.
7. Keep everyone updated. You can keep your family and friends updated about your daily happenings and the ministry.
8. Be updated. In return, you are updated about the people whom you care to follow. You get to enjoy the resources they share with you.
9. It directs virtual traffic to your online presence. You can tweet when you have updated your website or your blog to people who would otherwise may not be regular visitors at your site.
10. And finally, it is fun! Your knowledge base increases, you are informed, you are closer to your family and friends even though distanced geographically.
- Once you get involved, stay involved! If you plan to take breaks then you will not be able to make use of Twitter as much. The more people are blessed by your tweets the more you can reach out.
- Be personal. Do not use someone else to tweet for you. People need to know it is you, unless it’s an organizational profile.
- Do not neglect your followers. It might become harder when your followers increase but you can always try to do your best.
- Add value to people’s lives. Don’t just be about what you can get. Let your tweets give out more than what you expect from them. Isn’t that the base of Christianity, blessed to give?
- Be careful what you tweet, you are tweeting your reputation. Always double-check before you tweet. You could avoid embarrassments.
- Don’t be all over the place. Some tweets of personal activity is good, it adds colour and people get to relate to you but if your tweets are only about yourself then it might get boring, unless you are some sort of a celebrity.
- Do not give away too much private information unless you want some crazy person stalking you.
- Be careful of the links that you click on. Make sure you know the person and even if you do, double-check before you decide to trust the links or a website.
- Do not over tweet. If you tweet once in an hour, it would be 12 times a day. I would suggest not more than 8-10 in a day. Avoid tweeting all the 10 tweets in one go!
- Be mindful that if you are not relevant, people will un-follow you. Expect few to un-follow you anyway, there’s nothing personal about it. Yet try to do justice to your followers.
And finally Twitter is only a medium, don’t be carried away. I hope God will bless your ministry to reach out to millions.
Do you use twitter? And is there any person that you recommend to follow?
What other guidelines would you suggest?
How is your church using Twitter?