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Using Facebook to Connect with Families

One of the problems in the information age is that there are so many ways for receive and give information. I find it frustrating that you send text messages, make flyers, phone calls, emails, Twitter, and Facebook, and you miss 20% of your families.

Often, my best ideas were started from something I have seen or heard somewhere else. I remember having a conversation with Jim Wideman about how he is using Facebook to connect with kids in his youth ministry. It really got me thinking about how to use Facebook in children’s ministry. Here are some ideas:

1. Create a volunteer position whose job is to be the “Facebook Evangelist.”

2. Create events to connect families to our fan page.

3. Use the fan page as a source of weekly updates on what their kids are learning as well as to inform parents of events coming up.

4. Try to help connect people who attend our church to the life of our church using Facebook.


I plan on doing events for the family based around the community of Facebook. The first event that we did was called “Facebook Family Fun Night.”

What is Facebook Family Fun Night? Well, the origin of my idea came from Kendra and her team at North Point Church. I love the practicality and ministry in the trenches of Kendra’s blog and read every post she posts. She is also a great breakout speaker; if you are going to Orange, make sure you go to at least one of her breakouts—you’ll thank me later. They did a competition-based event, from what I could gather, that was more through their Web site. I thought for us that Facebook would be a great way to do something similar to what they did.

Here is the basic description of what we did: Facebook Family Fun Night was an interactive family night that parents from all of our campuses could sign up to be a part of. The event took place at their homes with families from our church; the twist is they did a devotional and the supplemental actives with their own family but in a race with all the other families who had registered from all of our campuses. The way the progress was logged was by each family taking pictures and uploading them to our kidmin fan page.

A few questions as to why we did this?

1. Why Facebook? Loads of our families are on Facebook and know how to work it, so we didn’t have to communicate how to use the technology. Plus, Facebook is free.

2. What was our goal?

Our goals were:

  • Stir ideas for creatively teaching your kids the Bible at home.
  • Help connect families to each other through a shared online experience.
  • Do a family event in the winter that wasn’t weather dependent.
  • Build Uptown’s Facebook brand with our core audience.
  • Create a shared memory for our families.
  • Create an opportunity for parents to lead their own kids to Christ.

3. Why make it a race? I like the race because you don’t get bogged down in any one thing; it forces you to keep moving because everyone else is. One of the reasons family devotions are lame is because they get bogged down and don’t keep moving, and kids lose focus. The race factor keeps the family focused. I like that.

I really liked this event. I don’t think virtual community will ever replace face-to-face community, but I do believe it can enhance it. When we have done events in the past, people who didn’t attend didn’t really feel like they missed out. But based on the viral and social nature of this event, if you missed it, you know you missed it because of the chatter and pictures loaded. Love that. We work so hard at not making people ever feel left out that people rarely feel like they missed something great. I hope everyone who didn’t take part in this event feels like they missed out…because let’s face it—they did!

4. What would we change for next time?

1. Have a better way to judge who was the winner.
2. Perhaps have different criteria for who the winner would be.
3.  Maybe do part of it via Ustream or the like.  

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Sam Luce has been the children’s pastor at Redeemer Church in Utica, New York for the past 14 years. Currently he serves as the Utica campus pastor and the Global family pastor. A prolific blogger and popular children's conference speaker, Sam has worked in children's ministry for over 23 years and is also a contributing editor to K! magazine.