What Facebook Can Do For Your Church (and What It Can Not..) – Part 1

Boston Temple SDA Church

Welcome to the social networking age! Oh yes, everything in the internet nowadays must carry that word ‘social’ or they will be so outdated, or so 2009 as they say it.. In recent years the internet has become so accessible to all people, people no longer need a computer to exist in the internet. They can make their presence by their cellular phones, be it the iPhone, Blackberry, or even any humble Nokia 1210 series.

It is no coincidence also that the biggest name in the social networking world now is.. yes, you know I was going to say it, Facebook! (Sorry Twitter..)

Facebook trend seems to sweep the whole world, more than anything ever in the world of internet. MySpace and Friendster are still there, kicking around, but everyday more and more are switching to Facebook because all of their friends did earlier.

I got to admit I was underestimating Facebook two years ago (that was 2008). I signed up because my friend already signed up to it. In 2009 I got more active in the Facebook, checking it everyday but never participate much. In 2010, I spent my time more in Facebook than checking my email.

Why? Because it keeps on improving its features and those features makes people spent more and more time in Facebook. For example, in 2008 Facebook didn’t have the chat feature. There was also few applications, if anything useful. But it is really the goal of Mark Zuckerberg, the young genius behind the Facebook, to make people spent their online time in Facebook and not needing to browse to other websites. Sounds impossible? Well, let’s just see it two years from now.

Anyway, enough for the presentation of what I know about Facebook, now what are the things that you must know that Facebook can do for your church.

1. Reaching The Youth

You heard me saying that more and more people are spending their time in Facebook, and you should use it for your church advantage. Radio and Television stations all know about this secret, if you are having people’s attention, you have the power.

The fact is more and more youth are using internet, and more and more time they spend in Facebook. You’ve got to use this to reach them. You have the greater chance to get their attention now using Facebook than using radio or TV (unless it’s national TV of course).

Still don’t get what I meant? Here’s the step by step:
1. If your church doesn’t have a Facebook page, go create one.. now.
2. If your church doesn’t have a Facebook group, login to that account or your account and create one.. now.
3. Add as a Friend all the youth people in your church that exist in Facebook, and add all also the adults so they don’t’ get mad (just kidding..).
4. Try post an invitation that you are going to held a free lunch this coming Sunday in your house and see what happens.

Here’s my guarantee: If no one replies to your invitation, I will pay for the free lunch. (I’m not serious, you know it).

2. Increase The Non-Sabbath Interaction

Here’s a little problem with SDA youth communication channel; they only runs on Sabbath. Don’t believe me? Try to volunteer to help the youth leader this term and you will believe me in less than few weeks.

It’s really a classic story, you talk to your church friends about the plan that you are going to have next Sabbath, and you guys have divided the responsibilities and everything looks good until the next Sabbath you find out that no one has done anything.

Why? Because for the whole week none of you know what other’s are doing or maybe everyone forgets what they should do.

But like I’ve told you before, it’s so 2009 man! If your friends are in Facebook, high chance is they will check their Facebook at least once a day. You can send them message or even chat with them whenever they are online, or you can also post message on their wall to get their attention.

What if they are not checking their Facebook that often? Don’t worry, all the notifications from Facebook will be sent to their email address. It simply increase the chance they will get the message compared to the traditional method of emailing them only.

3. Maintain The Ties

However beautiful time we have with our fellow brothers and sisters in the church, at one point in our life we must go somewhere else for school, job, marriage, or whatever reasons.

Keeping the communication is important because it gives us a stronger sense of family and we might help each other in time of needs. With Facebook you can easily check what’s going on in the lives of your previous church members so you always have something to talk about, use this for your advantage.

You can even check how they look now and where they have been from the photos with their name tagged.

For example, from a Facebook status or Photos you know that a previous church member who moved to a new place two years ago just got married last Sunday. You can easily send her a congratulation message and share about what’s going on for the previous two years.

4. Have The Always Updated Contact Information

If you ever tried to create a church member database you know one thing for sure; having it updated is a lot harder than having it created. People change their cell phone numbers, email, or addresses. It’s not like few decades ago where people usually change their contact information once every several years.

Nowadays people change their cellphone number or email addresses often, and you may not always know this before you need it.

Here’s the good news, people update their own contact information on Facebook,  you don’t even need to do the job.

Even if they don’t, you still contact them through Facebook with the advantages explained in the point number two above.

To be Continued…

All right, those are the four things that you can use for your church advantage. I was planning to include the things that Facebook cannot do for your church but it seems that it will be too long for a single blog post, so check out next time for the part 2 of this post for the list of things that unfortunately Facebook cannot help you with.

As always, if you have any comment, ideas, or even better, experiences, about using Facebook for your church advantage, please leave your comment here. 😀


Author: Trijito Santoso

I’m Trijito Santoso, a Seventh-Day Adventist, a medical technology and computer science graduate, and a software developer. The reason why I shifted from medical technology to computer science is because I love to create things (design, software, articles, anything), and being a software developer allows me to create things everyday. I graduated from Northeastern University, Boston, with a degree Master of Science in Computer Science. My resume is available on my LinkedIn.

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