The “E” Word and Social Media: A Primer

I spoke Sunday morning in my sermon about this church, evangelism & social media like Facebook, and I wanted to follow up on that with a post that may be a little toward the “inside baseball” side of things, but which I believe may be good for us all.

Let me begin, by talking about evangelism. It is a word which most of us cringe at hearing. It conjures up images of pushy Christians trying to force whatever their particular brand of Christianity happens to be, onto unsuspecting victims. It is not (or should not be) that. We also get confused and think that evangelism is about gaining members or increasing our attendance. It is not about that either.

The word literal means to “Share the Good News” and so whether we are offering a Messiah Sing for the community to share the good news of Jesus’s birth, or serving a meal to our hungry neighbors we are sharing the good news, and thus are doing evangelism. It is something we do, because the good news of God’s love is worth sharing, it is joyful to share, and it is beautiful to share, whether or not we see an increase in our numbers. The Good News is about God’s love…not how many butts happen to be sitting in our pews.

Recently, this church has been doing some really good evangelism with our benches, and we have seen Facebook become an important tool that we can use to spread this good news.

I told you on Sunday about that picture of Molly, and I asked you to share it as well. At that time I said that 1600 people had seen that photo, and now I can report that nearly 5000 people have seen that picture! That means that 5000 people now have an image in their minds about God’s love, about this churches commitment to diversity, and about the ways this church can share God’s love with our neighbors. That is impressive.

But, I wanted to follow up on all of this good news with some technical stuff to help us all be more informed about how we can use tools like Facebook to continue to spread the Good News. So, here are 5 tips and things to consider if you would like to become a part of our churches Facebook Evangelism.

  • Have you like our page? (click here) If you like our page several things will happen. First of all, it will ensure that anything the church post will end up on your feed (we don’t want you to miss anything!) Second, when a friend of yours finds themselves looking at our page FB will tell them that you like it.

  • Have you liked something on The UCC in Keene’s page? When you “like” something, FB will tell people who happen to see that same post, that you have liked it. It will also boost the post slightly (Facebook uses some really complicated algorithms to determine what shows up and what doesn’t, but suffice it to say: liking something helps, it tells FB that you find this post worthwhile.)

  • Have you shared something from The UCC in Keene? When you share something it will show up for all of your friends to see. Whether they know about The UCC in Keene or not, they will see that it is something that is important to you. So, if you have 300 friends, when you share a post it will be seen by 300 more people (or at least have the chance to)

  • Have you ever checked in at The UCC in Keene? Facebook has a check-in feature that tells people you are here. I would guess that as many as 500 people walk through our doors every week. What might the message be if a friend of yours started seeing 500 check ins per week at The UCC in Keene?

  • Have you invited your friends to like The UCC in Keene page? When you invite people to like our page, it invites them into the conversation much more fully. It gives them the chance to see all the things that the church is doing, right in their own Facebook feed.

In closing, I would like to share someone’s photo with you. It is a selfie taken by a woman named Amber. I don’t know Amber, I know nothing about her, her spirituality or her faith journey. But, Amber shared this photo with us today with the message: Thank you for saving the benches!! We appreciate everything you do!

That is worth seeing! see it here.

Peace,

Christopher Cornell

About the Author

Chris Cornell, our Assistant Minister and Youth Minister, lives in Keene with his wife Tonya, kids Toby and Fiona, dog Erma and two cats Prince and Princess. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking and traveling.

Chris loves how ministry blurs the line between the church and the surrounding community. You are just as likely to find Chris in his office as you are to find him at the homeless shelter, at the local coffee shop, or just out and about town.

Chris is a native of Connecticut, but has lived in Keene on and off since 1999. He received his bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College in 2002, and his Masters of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School in 2014. He has served the United Church of Christ in Keene since 2012.

ccornell@ucckeene.org

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