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Social Media | Apr. 8, 2014

Why Facebook Won’t Grow Your Church

Facebook and Church Growth

According to this infographic, 98% of people say that their churches use social media. This is what I get from this statistic:

1. Most churches now have a social media presence.

2. Most people who interact with churches on social media are their current members.

After browsing the internet trying to find statistics about how social media will actually grow your church (and spending more time than I really should have), I came up empty-handed.

Social media is a great tool for churches to keep their members in the know, but I am pretty confident when I say that it will not grow your church.

Here is why…

Unchurched people do not follow churches on Facebook.

To test this theory, I did a little research on my own. I visited 20 Facebook pages of friends who I know are unchurched (not atheists, just good people who don’t go to church).

Within the pages they “like,” absolutely none of them had a church listed. They had musicians, restaurants, local businesses, and even some nonprofits. But not a single church.

This left me with a few questions:

1. Are churches investing too much time and energy into social media sites like Facebook and calling it outreach?

2. Does having a presence on social media do anything at all for organic church growth and for reaching the unchurched?

3. How can churches utilize Facebook and other social media sites for the Great Commission?

I don’t have the answers to these questions but wanted to open them up for discussion. What are your thoughts?

Sarah Blackmon Church Marketing Specialist, d2design
Sarah Blackmon Church Marketing Specialist, d2design
  • aaronlifrd07

    A church that belongs to my organization (Victory Tabernacle) has seen tremendous growth just this year alone by working their social media properly. They don’t even have great content. The main driver is the passion of their church members who share posts and event invites.

    • Sarah Blackmon

      Aaron, so are you saying that churches need to encourage their members to share their content so people outside of the membership can see it? Like Victory Tabernacle’s example

      • aaronlifrd07

        Well in this case that is what I have seen. My church is trying to follow their example as well. I say that we need not only encourage members but inspire them to share content. Let them become the rock star marketers for the church.

        • We are sending out a social media campaign churches can use to equip their members to share more about their church this Easter. Could I email it out to you? This is Sarah with d2. New name, got married.

  • Meredith Gould

    FWIW, here’s my counsel: encourage *congregants* to include references to church in their FB posts to show how church and faith are woven into daily life. Example: “Love the gardens at my church.” (with a picture). “Proud of my church [name] for hosting a blood drive.”

    This tactical approach to FB allows non-church people following individual congregants to see the integration of church into daily life. Congregants become “brand ambassadors.” At some point, the non-church person may say, “Gee, you post a lot about church. What’s up with that?” and boom! opening for a conversation.

    As for analytics, I say fuggedaboudit. The time that elapses between first being exposed to the gospel and embracing Christianity can span years. In my own case, I was first “evangelized” in 1986 and didn’t seek baptism until 1994.

    The journey of faith is a process, not an event and I believe FB posts from individuals, rather than institutions (e.g., churches) have meaningful impact. #PBWY

    • Meredith, thank you for commenting. I think you are right on about how FB posts from individuals about church can start conversations with their friends and family more than posts from the institutions themselves will.