7 Silly Barriers that Stop Churches from Adopting Social Media

Steve Fogg —  May 21, 2014 — 10 Comments


Over the last few years I’ve met and spoken to many different church leaders on my travels to England and more locally here in Australia in social media seminars. For many leaders and pastors who bravely sat through my presentations and stayed awake (I can cure insomnia) well done! One of the undercurrents I noticed in some conversations there was a cautiousness of adopting social media, from others there was a definite distrust of it.

Here are seven of the barriers that need tearing down.

1. Social media is evil

In and of itself social media isn’t evil. Social media is simply a way to connect with others that you know on a digital platform. Throughout the ages we’ve changed the way we communicate with each other. We’ve had the letter, telegram, phone, mobile phone, market place, pub, church  to name just a few. Some are face to face, others are not. Social media is just the medium of this moment.

2. It’s not ‘real’ evangelism 

The New Testament provides great insight into missional activities and demonstrates that the gospel must go and be spoken to where the people gather together. The Apostle Peter preached to the marketplace. One of today’s marketplaces is online on the social web. Million’s of people connect online just like they do offline.

The Apostle Peter bought his brother Andrew because he heard Jesus and wanted Andrew to meet him. Now people can share their faith experience online with a click at a button. Be it through a link to a website, a live service, a social media quote from church. The message spreads virally through the actions of the Christian on social media.

3. It’s superficial

Yes some of it is. But then so are many conversations at dinner parties, pubs and any other social occasions that we can sometimes attend. Your presence on social media is your opportunity to contribute to actually changing the level of conversation to something that is more profound and deeper.

4. It fosters narcissism

Social media can certainly produce narcissism and disconnected people. It’s the church’s opportunity to change the conversation less about ‘me’ and more about ‘others’ in ways that provide connections back to the church. Churches used to provide potlucks and after service parties for community, but now its through online connections on Facebook or whatever local flavour of social network that works. The message never changes, but the methodology does. Social media is just one way to reach a narcissistic generation and change the tone of the conversation in a positive way.

5. It’s not an effective communications channel

This is flat out wrong. If done well, social media could be your most effective communications channel. Certainly when it comes to outreach, the extended reach of social media has never been created ever in marketing and communications before. Social media is one of the best ways to get your message out there, and let others spread your message for you.

6. Makes you vulnerable to trolls and negative feedback

There will always be haters, trolls in whatever environment a church is in. Expect criticism. Expect abuse. Sometimes it is actually a good barometer that you are reaching into places that really need the light of the church shone into.

7. It’s not biblical

Radio, TV, email, video, or the printed word were not invented in the new testament. But we are all comfortable with using these mediums to communicate the gospel. Social media is no different. It is just another tool for your communications toolbox. It may just be the most powerful tool you have.

What are you waiting for?

What would you add to this list? Or would you disagree? Comment below!

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Related posts:

  1. 12 Social Media Tips For Church Leaders
  2. One Seismic Shift Churches & Non-Profits Need To Make Now In Social Media
  3. 22 Common Mistakes Most Churches & Non-Profits Make On Social Media
  4. The Goal Of Social Media For Churches

10 responses to 7 Silly Barriers that Stop Churches from Adopting Social Media

  1. I think some people see it as a fad to be dismissed rather than recognising it as an established trend that is now mainstream. Maybe that’s not a silly barrier but one borne of ignorance.

  2. Rachel Davison May 22, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Great article Steve, you make a compelling case.

  3. Very insightful Steve. Just thinking that mentioning the ‘church’ throws up a building, an organisation with boundaries, often seen with prejudice, rather than a dynamic number of inspired and transformed people widely dispersed but united as the body of Christ. Would you think it good to clarify to the world out there?
    Thanks, Roger

    • I would agree with your Roger, the church in the true sense of the word is the community that gathers. What I’m taking about here is more specifically church leaders and staff.

  4. Great post Steve. Reminds me of some of the arguments against Christian pop/rock music.
    Maybe you could do some follow-up posts: “Why should the devil have all the tweeple?” or “God gave Pinterest to you”

  5. Hello Steve, You wrote some very interesting things that I never thought deeply about before and I strongly agree with most of it, and not only when it comes to churches but any conservative institution. These people don’t understand that despite the disadvantages and the bad aspects of those mediums, it’s a significant place with many people using it almost daily, and by turning the back to it they are skipping on influencing this very large population. I can understand the flinching but if it’s uncomfortable – you don’t have to go straight to Facebook- there are many more private and local social networks that can suit better, including circle, meetey.com and others.

  6. Awesome list, Steve. I love it!

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