Churches know that they need to have websites, be on social media and share their faith in new ways. So, they do that. Get a website. Get a Facebook page. Get a Twitter account. Get an Instagram account. Get a Snapchat account. Delete the Snapchat account because your youth groan when you mention it. Then we…just go for it. Right?
We spend so much time planning out our worship, our Sunday School curriculum, even who will light the candles during Advent. But we just jump into communicating with the world with no plan just because we know we need to be out there? How would that go if we did worship that way? Even if we plan to open up our worship practices with more spontaneity and on-the-spot prayer, song choices, etc., we still make a plan so that we know what message we want to focus on, and where we want to end up together as a congregation.
Communication should be the same way. We need to think about what messages we want people to hear from us, and how we want them to interact and respond to those messages. Just as in the rest of church life, we have to make some sort of plan. It doesn’t need to be rigid, but making a plan helps you be creative and spontaneous because you aren’t always scrambling to figure out what to say, how to say it and who to say it to.
Start simple. Know who you are and who your audience is, and post pictures and other content that is true to those identities. Use the content you have – pictures that show your ministry in action, sermons, lessons, quotes from the Scripture readings for the week. Consider the time and energy you have available to create quality content, and how often you might be able to produce new content or repurpose older content.
Once you have an idea of your resources, write it all down – what you want to say, to which audience, and how often you can do that. If that means posting a sermon excerpt and a picture on Facebook every week, then start there.
Just because you could have a blog and be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and on, doesn’t mean that you can or should do all of those things. Figure out what makes sense for your ministry and central message and audience. Use the media that fits those the best.
At Worship Times, we use a spreadsheet to keep our blog and social media posting calendar straight, but you could use a simple monthly calendar, a text document, sticky notes, or whatever works best to keep yourself organized. Whatever you use, just do it. Create a plan, and try it out. You can always change and adapt it as you see how it works, or your needs change.
Make a plan.