Shortly after joining Twitter in June of last year, I began developing a social media strategy for the church I serve, Grace Baptist Church. This strategy included redesigned our church website with a WordPress integrated blog to keep content current, a Facebook group, a church planting resource blog, and a church twitter account.
Over the past nine months, I have considered various ways in which twitter can be particularly helpful for the local church. Relatively speaking, Grace Baptist is a small church, but that does not mean that we have to have a small impact. For an illustration of how Twitter exponentially enlarges your internet “voice”, consider this 3-month chart:
As you can see, we have gone from roughly 50 followers to over 400 in the last three months, most recently adding 100 new followers every three weeks. I solely manage the church twitter stream and have updated it only updated it 191 times over eight the past nine months. So what in particular do you tweet if you are representing your local church? Here are some suggestions:
(1) Gospel Seeding – We are responsible for sowing the Gospel seed wherever we go. The internet has flattened our world to do that in ways never before. The Gospel is good news, and when Twitter asks your church, “What Are You Doing Right Now?” should not the “matters of first importance” be first on your church’s twitter agenda?
(2) New sermons – When new sermons or podcasts are available, provide the links, including the ability to listen online or download. Mars Hill does a good job with this. Here’s an example from our stream:
(3) New blogposts – If you have a church blog, use your Twitter as its mouthpiece like you would your own blog. We use our blog to discuss matters pertaining to a sermon series, teaching topics, or current events in the life of our church. Here’s an example again from @gracebaptist stream:
(4) Important Announcements/Reminders – If there is something you want your community to be made aware of, be sure to get the word out with Twitter. An easy example is mentioning on Friday and Saturday your service times and location for those in your area looking for a place to attend church. Here’s an example from Village Church (TX):
(5) Prayer Requests – The great thing about Twitter is the viral nature of it. You can have literally hundreds of people praying about a specific matter together who would not otherwise be informed apart from a Twitter update.
(6) Live-Tweets – I have not been as consistent doing this (because I wear other hats at GBC!), but live-tweeting your services provide people an opportunity to get a glimpse of what your church is like, what the sermon is about, and in some way, positively influence people to want to hear more. Here’s an example (with hashtag):
Edit: Having considered this a little more and reading the comments of Josh Harris, Richard Clark, and John Piper, I have been convinced that my suggestion of live-tweets are unwise. I do think that tweeting significant points in a sermon are helpful but should be done after the service.
(7) Community Happenings – Use your church twitter to support causes in your city and encourage your members to get involved. There will be organizations, opportunities, and events represented on Twitter from your local area that your church ought to network for the sake of bringing the good of the gospel into the heart of your culture.
(8) Website Updates – This includes articles, events, media. Twitter is a good provocative tool to keep your website current. If you have nothing to update on Twitter, perhaps you need to give a little attention to your church website! Here’s an example from Mars Hill:
Well, there are eight suggestions I have considered while using of twitter for the local church. If you have any other ideas or suggestions, feel free to pass them along in the comments.