“That’s not real community!“
It’s frustrating, but you feel obligated to continue with your pitch.
It’s the first time you try to discuss social media with a parent, an elder, a deacon or worse, a pastor who seems to be aggressively against these online communities.
There’s an array of typical responses:
“That’s such a waste of time!” or “I’m not going to invest in a fad!“
My personal favourite (usually from pastors):
“That’s not real community!”
I recently had one of these discussions with a senior pastor from a small community in rural Canada. He’s been at the church for a few years now and to his service, has almost quadrupled the congregation since arriving.
I want it to be known that he’s obviously doing a lot of things right!
What About Social Media?
After I asked whether or not he was planning on pursuing social media as a strategy for outreach, the conversation took a turn for the worse.
Sure enough, he provided the typical response questioning the significance of social media within true community. I opposed this thought with my personal experience.
“It’s true community for me. It’s true community for many peers in my demographic. It’s definitely true community for the students that I’ve pastored over the past few years. They share more intimate discussion over Facebook Messenger than any other outlet.“
This Is One Example
For those of us who understand how social media works (and our students certainly do), it’s an extension of our truest thoughts, opinions and creative expressions.
Who knows why? But for many of us, this outlet where everyone can see everything, feels safe.
After explaining some of this in detail, the pastor seemed to understand. However, for those serving in small towns you know what comes next!
“Our town’s always about 5 years behind the times.“
The idea here is that one should wait until everyone else embraces something before we embrace it. Don’t bother being the pioneer!
And yet, if you place this thought into any other situation, its false logic.
Let’s think of that model in regards to a small community obtaining their very first Tim Horton’s.
Community is happening at the other coffee shops just fine, but all those city folk seem to really like that Tim’s! (Let’s not even mention Toronto and Vancouver and their Starbucks!)
The problem here is that people no longer live within the confines of their small town. We travel. We explore. We try new things. Eventually, someone is going to experience a Tim Horton’s and say,
“Man, I wish we had one of those in our town!“
The Race Is on!
The business model is sound. The man or woman to open the first Tim Horton’s in that town will reach the masses! If it’s a proven product or service within larger communities, why not give it a try in a smaller community?
The odds are that it will work.
Back To Social Media
To the pastor reading this, a large part of your congregation has probably already embraced social media. Actually, you may have already accosted them for doing so at an early occasion.
Find out who’s using these resources and take them out for coffee. And you might want to bring your laptop and cellphone.
Furthermore, I would immediately purchase two books written by Christian authors for all audiences. (1) Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt and (2) Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job by Jon Acuff.
I, like many others all around the world, owe many thanks and praises to these two men for teaching me how to reach more people with more messages. You will find the same.
Door-Knocking Is Dead
The days of church members knocking on their neighbor’s door to invite them to Sunday services are gone. However, you might just find that by setting up a Facebook Page or a Twitter account, people start conversations about your church.
If it’s attractive (which the Gospel at work always is) then you might just find people knocking at your door.
Join the Conversation, Leave Your Thoughts
Why do you think your pastor should embrace social media?