Unlocking Value for Entrepreneurs

Story – Churches and Social Media breakout

Tim Schraeder did an excellent job capturing Cynthia Ware ( and my session at the Story Chicago conference.

Social Media Pulse

What are churches current social media patterns?

  • We are living in a world people dreamed of.
  • There used to only be a computer at work… then it went home… then to your lap… now to your hand.
  • Mobile ubiquity, where everyone has a phone, presents challenges and opportunities for the church.
  • There’s an embedded value system in social media [public/participatory, new media].
  • There’s value in it that it’s instant.
  • Everyone is an equal creator… it’s user-generated content.
  • We’d rather buy something someone tells us about than what we are told by businesses or corporations.
  • Users have a voice and are able to generate content.
  • In a relationship economy, what people say matters deeply.
  • We now have greater accessibility to information.
  • Churches need to move from having “please have your phone off” signs to “please have your phone on” signs.
  • The media is affecting our small group communities and the way that they interact.
  • We’ve torn down the boundaries of distance; there’s now a worldwide conversation going on that anyone can participate in.
  • The definition of “presence” is changing.
  • We HAVE to think through these things theologically.
  • Is physical presence necessary for you to be a part of and “be” the church.
  • Social media allows customization [personalization].
  • One size does not fit all … [MySpace, my reviews, my favorites, etc.]
  • My can be consumer oriented, but it reflects the fact that media is in the hands of every person and every person has the ability to create media.
  • Everyone is a content producer.
  • We now watch TV on our own terms [TiVo].
  • New generations are being raised with these new ideas embedded in their everyday interactions.
  • As technology becomes cheaper and more effective, the Church is confronted with one of the greatest opportunities along with one of the greatest challenges of how to steward it.
  • The Men of Issachar were able to see the times and were able to know what to do.
  • Let’s go to the next level… let’s find out what we are capable of doing and how are we able to frame it in a Biblical context?
  • The word of our testimony is the critical story we have that’s a powerful conduit [Christianity is viral] to reach someone we may have not been able to reach any other way.
  • We’ve moved to a digital age.
  • It will be normal for us to connect online, first and then meet in person.
  • 43% of churches say social media is one of the most effective ways for them to communicate and engage with people.
  • Church websites are the front doors to churches.
  • 77% of people say the church website was an important part of why they chose to go to church.
  • If people can’t connect to your website they may not go to your church.
  • People make judgements about a church based on what the church communicates across their website.
  • It’s a missiological issue.
  • John 17:18
  • Facebook is the 4th largest nation in the world if you look at the number of people that are on it.
  • Non-Christians do not go to your website.
  • Your website is primarily visited by believers looking for information about churches.
  • 20% of all data people are accessing on church websites is information for new visitors… that’s a significant portion where you should invest your time.
  • Use the web to help people new into the church to get deeper into community.
  • Your web strategy should be looked at as an Internet Presence Management.
  • What are you communicating online?
  • How are you connecting to where people are talking and engaging?
  • Where are you present? Where are you absent?
  • Who is responsible for your church’s online presence?
  • What does it mean to be the Church online?
  • How do you define presence? What’s your theology of presence?
  • We need to recognize that participatory media is decentralized.
  • It’s unregulated.
  • We have a lack of control.
  • We have to look deeper at our theology.
  • A mobile, extended presence can be used missionally.
  • Is virtual community real community?
  • What is Biblical community?
  • We need to define Biblical community before we define online community and if it’s possible to have church online
  • We need to ask if we can use an online presence to build real life community?
  • We need to intently be on the internet, it’s a mission field.
  • We, the Church, are called to be counter-culture… what does that mean at this technological crossroads?
  • We are willing to be transparent online, but vulnerability is not often seen online.

Top Social Media Sites

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Private Member Portals [ MemberHub, Monk, Tangle, Unifyer, etc ]
  4. GoogleGroups
  5. MySpace
  • Greatest needs online: events, post prayer requests, get connected, finding small groups and ways to connect throughout the week, integration with their church website and resource sharing.
  • Churches are wrestling with how to use participatory technologies.
  • The Cobblestone Community Network is a tool that’s been developed to help churches have private communication that’s integrated into social media channels.
  • If you don’t set a strategy you’re going to have a difficult time pulling it together later.
  • What is your strategy for the community online?
  • Pick a horse.
  • If you don’t lead your people, they will find their own way and go their own direction.
  • This is something we need to pay attention to but we don’t need to know the mechanics of it; you can find volunteers or someone on staff to help manage this.
  • Things are easier than they were before.
  • There are challenges and effort required but it’s more centered on your strategy.
  • Let people tell you how they want to be contacted… be platform neutral.
  • Let people choose how the content gets to them.


  1. Social media for churches gives more opportunities to other people to still communicating God even if they are busy in many things of our daily lives.

  2. Thanks for sharing this.

    Wondering if you have links to the research behind these stats:

    77% of people say the church website was an important part of why they chose to go to church.

    20% of all data people are accessing on church websites is information for new visitors… that’s a significant portion where you should invest your time.

  3. admin

    March 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Steve, it’s the same survey you commented on here: This is some of the data made public. Most of it has been presented at conferences or in articles. Here’s a good overview with some of the data:

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