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3 Reasons Why Leaders Should Use Social Media

Should pastors and church leaders regularly use Twitter, blogs, and Facebook?  Without a doubt!!!  Though not a pastor, let’s look at the presidential campaign of President Obama for some key leadership lessons. 

Ranjit Mathoda said in a linked NY Times article:

“Thomas Jefferson used newspapers to win the presidency, F.D.R. used radio to change the way he governed, J.F.K. was the first president to understand television, and Howard Dean saw the value of the Web for raising money.  But Senator Barack Obama understood that you could use the Web to lower the cost of building a political brand, create a sense of connection and engagement, and dispense with the command and control method of governing to allow people to self-organize to do the work.”

Mathoda points out three key areas for communication:

1. The Ability to Build a Personal Brand – Social Media allows a pastor or church leader to continually provide content to the church attendees in a way that adds significant value to their life.  In addition, pastors can identify and engage their online leaders by reading and commenting on their blogs, following them on Twitter, and connecting with them on Facebook. 

2. Create a Sense of Connection and Engagement – There is simply not enough hours to spend time with everyone in a church.  However, pastors can go daily to where they – online, their computer.  Social networking allows everyone in a church to know what their leaders are thinking and feeling each day.  This vehicle also allows people to give feedback to what is happening in the church.

3. Allow People to Self-Organize to Do the Work – Twitter and Facebook have been instrumental in the recent Middle East uprisings.  Similar movements could take place in a church as well.  Smart pastors understand that social media provides multiple points of entry for engaging people in various aspects of church.

Here are a few hints to help you get started:

  • Journaling – When blogging, don’t try to write an epistle or book.  This is a mistake many spiritual leaders make.  Attempting to do this ultimately causes social media paralysis.  Simply talk about what you’re learning, thinking about, or feeling each day.
  • Brevity Is Best – Keep your blog posts to 300-500 words.  No more.  You will begin making it difficult on yourself to have to consistently generate content.
  • Lists – People have become less likely to read paragraphs.  Lists are scannable and easy to read.
  • Vision – Social Media allows you to daily cast vision.
  • Stories – As part of vision, tell stories of life change as often as possible.
  • Respond to Comments – Remember you can’t meet with everyone.  Social media allows you to connect and invest with everyone in your congregation.
  • Use Facebook Specifically to Organize Ministry – Every capital campaign, missions trip, community outreach event, etc. should have a Facebook page dedicated to organizing, telling stories, motivating, and enlisting volunteers. 
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Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See www.briandoddonleadership.com for additional insights.