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Church Online in 2020: The Goal of Social Media isn't Likes

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As part of an ongoing blog series "Church Online in 2020" we're taking an introspective look into the changes Church Online needs to make in 2019 for it to be a growing, healthy representation of "church" in 2020.

With 2018 in the rearview mirror and 2019 ahead of us, let's take a moment and understand where we're going. Remember, it's not just important for you to know where you're going... chances are you'll have to educate your leadership along the way. The more you can get them to understand, the easier the future will be!

Church Online is more than just Social Media.

It's so easy to forget this... to get caught up into the likes, the video viewers, the followers. Church, don't forget, God's endgame is not likes... its disciples. Social media is the means, not the end. The goal is not to do church in social media. The goal is to use social media to connect people to your Church. It's a subtle difference, but one that must be understood.

Here's what social media has become:

  • Instagram is a photo/video with a caption.
  • Twitter is 280 characters, with possibly a photo or video.
  • Facebook has many tools that foster community, but the average Facebook video is under 4 min long.
  • YouTube is one of the fastest growing social media platforms right now,  Even then, the average video length on YouTube is under 5 minutes.
Image result for i am iron man gifRemember this: liking a church post on Facebook doesn't make a person a disciple of Christ any more than following "Marvel Comics" makes me Iron Man.

Church, social media isn't meant for long interactions. It's meant to be a gateway, a portal, a platform that connects people to an idea... Some use social media as a political platform to share their feelings towards politicians or worldly injustices. There's much hate right now in social media. We've all seen it. We know it's there. Church. we are called to be a light in the darkness. Be that light! Our calling, however, doesn't stop when that person likes our Facebook post or follows us on Instagram. Keep going!

Congratulations! Church, you got someone in a different time zone than you to follow your Facebook Page. Well done. But other than the follow, what do we know of this person? Are they spiritually struggling? Do they fully understand the Gospel? If our goal was getting them to follow us on Facebook, then we as a Church are not shepherding them. 

Social Media has to be a Front Door, connecting people to something else... your Physical Church Locations AND your Church Online.

Let's keep using this Facebook follower from another time zone example. How is your church shepherding/caring for this person spiritually? He's a time zone away, he's not showing up at your Physical Campus! Church, as we continue to develop our Online Ministries, we have to develop our Discipleship Systems Online. Invite your Facebook follower from another time zone into an Online Small Group. Facebook message him directly and invite him into a Facebook Group where you are praying together and discussing the Church Online services. Host a Facebook Watch Party and invite a bunch of people to experience an Online Church Service together! All of these options, though, require more work to be done than just creating a post that gets a like. You'll find yourself building relationships with these people online. This is the truest form of the word ENGAGING! This is a crucial step before we as a Church Online can pastor or shepherd them.

Do not be satisfied with likes and follows on Facebook or any platform! Take the next step and make disciples Online, as well as through your Physical Campuses.

Matthew 28:19-20 didn't stop at likes. We shouldn't either.

Download eBook: What Happens When Church Online Grows UpWant to learn more about the role of Social Media & Church Online? Check out our eBook: What Happens When Church Online Grows Up and learn how Church Online can help you reach a whole new group of people, Online.

This has been a lot of fun exploring what the Church Online will look like in 2020. Here's a preview of what's next: Church Online is more than Church in Isolation..

Church Online in 2020: Open More Than Sundays
Church Online in 2020: Everyone's Church, Including the Guy Next Door

About Author

Jeff Reed
Jeff Reed

With about 20 years experience serving the church in the digital/technological realm, Jeff loves working with churches. As passionate about Discipleship as he is Technology, Jeff uses his passion to help Churches develop technology systems to bring people far from God closer to him. Oh, and he loves Church Online.

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