Facebook is a common tool used by many Churches across Australia. It’s can be used as a free tool for spreading the word and reaching the local community and beyond. Many Churches can be unsure in how to use Facebook and even have a big fear of using Facebook. Let me help you out with some guidelines that I recommend for using Facebook for Churches.
A bit of history…..
My experience with Facebook began many, many years ago. Having been partially brought up by a computer nerd, I can’t help but have some of this ‘nerdness’ in my blood. About the time I joined Facebook, we moved to a small country town in Australia. I mainly joined to connect with my city friends and relatives. Then I saw how Facebook can be a great tool for Christians. I put this with what I have noticed when travelling Australia. There were many Christians who were lonely. Many Christians who were hurt by the Church and not going to Church anymore. There were even Christians who lived miles away from a Church. So in 2011 I created a Facebook Group Called Aussie Christians on Facebook.
It wasn’t my first ‘internet group’ as I had ones in MySpace and forums, back in the old days. 🙂 Aussie Christians on Facebook was strictly for Australians who are Christians. Last year I handed the group over to another admin, but I saw it grow and now it’s past the 7000 mark of pure Aussie Christians. It had it’s bumps along the way. For example, belief issues, politics etc, but admin always made sure the discussions pointed to biblical evidence or to God. I learnt a lot about Facebook, which led me to helping Churches with their pages and groups. Facebook works great within your Church body but does even more in the community and for your visitors.
I let you know my thoughts on how I would have Facebook work for your Church.
- Start with your Church Facebook Page.
- Add prime people to admin who will oversee the page.
- Place your Church logo for profile picture (create familiarity).
- Add a bright lively video/photo for cover photo.
- Place your a photo of the front of your building in the ‘your story’ section OR as the cover photo. When people visit your Church they need familiarity to know what to look for. This is usually the first place people come to check your Church out. They want to see life, movement, stories, that something is happening and it’s not a dead boring place to be.
Why add a photo of the street view of your Church or an image of the front of your Church?
Because when people visit your Church they need familiarity to know what to look for. When driving , seeing the building that they saw on Facebook, gives them comfort, knowing that they are at the right place.
- Create the Facebook groups for each department required. Include the Church name or group name so it doesn’t get lost. eg, “Example Church Women’s Group” not “Women’s Group”. You can make the privacy of the groups public, or closed for some groups and secret eg for those that are for key leaders only.
- Link each to the groups to your Church Facebook Page. These will appear on your Church Facebook Page (unless they are a secret group, in which I would put your Church Staff as one) so that anyone checking out an area of your Church they would like to visit, can easily find the info their.
- Create cover pictures for the groups.
- Add people into the group or announce at Church that you would love them to connect with them and they can join relevant Facebook groups, which can be found via the Church Facebook page. Promoting via announcements at Church or at an event can be better as then you don’t get people offended they weren’t added to the group. But when you have a Church Staff Only group or Worship Team Group, you know there are selected only people, you can just email them or invite them to the group.and post in the group for people to add other people who relate to that group.
- You can create questions for people to answer when asking to join the group, to determine if you should let them have access into the group. For example the Worship Team group, you have someone wanting to join the group, but they are not on the team. So you could ask a question like….We are so glad you want to join Example Church’s Music Team Facebook Group. Are you wanting to join the worship team? Please see Ps Bob regarding an audition. If you have seen Ps Bob, please write the date of your audition below and one of the admin team will confirm at their earliest convenience.
- Rules and guidelines need to be placed, so everyone knows what the group is there for and what can be posted and not be posted. The posting settings can be set so that they are reviewed by admin prior to being posted to the group.
Now set up your admin team for the Church Facebook Page. Some Senior Pastors want to be on admin on Facebook, while others don’t, so please check before adding them. Each of your department Leaders/Pastors that are heading up the relevant Facebook Groups, add them as Editors or Admins – depending on what you want them to do. This group of people I will call Group Admin. The Group admin have most control over their individual groups that they are leading. For example Worship Pastor in charge of the Worship Team Group. Youth Pastor in charge of the Youth Group. They can put posts in the groups, create events etc etc. Now when they want to create an event, just for their team, they can create it in their. If it was an event that the people outside of the group can attend, they create the event on the Church Facebook Page. This way they are able to find departments and events under one umbrella. If your groups are known as other names that have nothing connecting them with the Church, they can then be found on the Church Facebook page.
INVITE members to join your Facebook group and like your Facebook page through embedding the invite through your emails. Find instructions on doing this here.
~ Private Messaging is quick and easy, but I would apply the same rule as counselling when the conversations get deep. Either female to female, male and male or have more than just two people in the conversation.~
Facebook social media volunteers
Preparing and training social media volunteers helps them know what to do and when to do it. It also puts guidelines and suggestions down, so they have a feel of where to go and how to do things. Here is a manual that can help you through set something out in concrete, so your team can work safely and as a team in serving the Church.
When it comes to Facebook Ads and Facebook Ad Grants for Churches, Steve Fogg from Melbourne is much more skilled in this area and has a very helpful video course, which will give you all the keys to maximize your advert on Facebook. You can find the course at here.