Missional Thought of the Day - Reaching Out with Facebook (2) - It's about relationships!

You can use Facebook as a broadcast medium, shouting out messages about your church, telling them about upcoming activities, etc.

But in reality, these are somewhat limited in value. I am reminded of what my Twitter friend, @MarketerMikeE said on this. Take a look at your last 20 tweets. Would you want to follow you? Does it scream me, me, me? Or are you being truly helpful to others. The same is true for Facebook.

You see, what people are really looking for in a church is relationships. And Facebook is great for helping build relationships. In fact, this is what it is made for, not as a new way to spam people.

So, here are some suggestions for using Facebook to reach out.
  1. Friend your unchurched friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Do a search on their name, and then request to add them as a friend. Here is a short post on how to do this.
    • When they are add you as a friend, comment on their posts. Express interest in their lives! If they express a struggle or frustration or fear, pray for them, and then post a comment telling them that you prayed for them. As Christians, we take being prayed for for granted, but for those without a church home, they may not often experience them.
  2. Friend your visitors from church. Again, do the same as #1 above. For those who are on Facebook and use it often, this is one of the best visitor follow-ups that you can have.
  3. Start a Facebook page for your church if you have not already done so. Click here to start a page. Note that you have to be an official representative of an organization to start this kind of page. Again, if people see this as a broadcast medium, they won't try to interact with it. So personal comments are good here, mixed in with upcoming things about the church. (I did have an administrative assistant who helped me with posting on our church page, but I no longer have her. My social networking time right now is devoted to the Story of Redemption Facebook page and this network.)
  4. Start a Facebook page for a Bible study group (or another church related group, like youth, children's ministry, etc.) that you are using to reach out to seekers.
    • Check out my Story of Redemption Facebook page! In addition to church members, I invite people who are going through this study to join this page. Because the comments are personal, people will respond back.
    • Get the members of this group to friend one another and interact with one another. When they do this, the relationships will be stronger in the group, and they will look forward to seeing each other even more. Because they are developing actual friends! I was really excited tonight when Lindsey Flenniken and Cindy Moncada (from the Story of Redemption group) friended one another. And then Cindy shared that she was nervous about starting her new job tomorrow. I prayed for her and posted a comment about this. And then, even better, Lindsey said that she would pray for her. And both Cindy and Lindsey are seekers!
    • If you look on this Story of Redemption Facebook page, you'll see a comment about one of the seekers in this study saying that she is shocked to find nice people. People will stay with a study/church/group of Christians that show that they genuinely love and care for them.
This all takes time and effort. But if you love people, and don't mind being online (which, if you are reading this post, I assume is the case), then this will be a joy. You'll bless others by being their online and in person friend, and you'll be blessed by them. And this will open doors to share the gospel in a genuine way with your friends.

What ideas do you have about using Facebook to reach out? What do you think of the above suggestions?

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