5 07 2014

Bridgebuilders Ministries is a firm advocate of a social networking presence by pastors in particular. This article first appeared on the CHRISTIAN POST’S blog ON-LINE MISSION.

8 Things Pastors SHOULD Do on Facebook

Facebook Pastor

We spent a couple of days earlier this week discussing 18 Ways Pastors Can Ruin their Reputation on Facebook. It stirred some emotion as a number of people vented about some of the misuses of Facebook they’ve seen pastors make. If you’re a pastor, I hope that hasn’t scared you away from Facebook, as it remains a great tool for connecting with people within your church and community.

Today we turn towards the positive and look at 8 things pastors should do on Facebook.

1. Listen. James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” Nothing could be more important on Facebook. Listen more than you speak. By listening you’ll get to know people better and learn what’s going on in their lives. You find out who is hurting, who is frustrated, who is thriving, who is gifted in ways you never realized.


2. Pray. James 5:16 tells us, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Whether your Facebook friends post good news or bad, a success or a failure, you can always pray for them. When you do, ask God for guidance as to how to respond if at all. He may prompt you with the words to type in a reply. He may prompt you to pick up the phone. Who knows what could happen.

3. Engage/comment. Of course, if all you do is listen and pray, you’re not going to have much impact on Facebook. In fact, nobody’s going to even know you’re there. Show you care about your Facebook friends by engaging with them. Comment on people’s updates. When other people comment on your updates, reply back to them. Respond promptly to messages and new friend requests.

4. Publicly encourage. One of the best ways you can engaged with people and show you care is to encourage them. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort either. Posting a comment on someone’s update with a simple “Congrats!” “That’s awesome!” or “I’m praying for you,” shows the person (and their Facebook friends) that you really are listening and you care.

5. Respond privately to sensitive issues. Facebook not only provides the means to respond publicly to your friends, but also privately. If someone posts an update alluding to a personal or sensitive issue – their relationship status changes, they’ve lost their job, they sound depressed – in addition to publicly encouraging them, you may want to want to send them a private message. Not only does it give you the opportunity to say something you might night want to say publicly, but by asking open-ended questions you invite them to open up more privately about what’s going on and how they’re really doing.

6. Be human. People are not connecting with you on Facebook so they can hear about God and church all the time. They want to relate to you as human being. Post about what’s happening in your life. Share photos and video of your family. Talk about your other interests and hobbies. Share links to articles you think are interesting.

7. Be authentic. People are also not connecting with you so they can see how perfect people live. Don’t just post the good stuff that’s going on in your life. It’s OK to express sadness, anger and frustration. In fact, it’s not just OK, it’s necessary. We are all frail and sinful. People need to understand that as a pastor you are not better than they are. You are just blessed to be forgiven and have the Holy Spirit at work in your life.

8. Initiate friend requests. Some people are afraid to initiate a friend request with a pastor. After you meet someone in the community or meet someone for the first time at church, initiate a friend request with them the next time you’re on Facebook. Remember Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors, so you should be hanging out on Facebook with people who are not Christians too.




5 09 2013

This is an excellent post from Ministry’s Best Practices. If you need help with use of social media, Bridgebuilders Ministries can assist you. – STEVE

social-media (1)

Sure Social Media and Networks, like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter etc.., have a big “gee-whiz” factor. Everybody is hopping on the bandwagon. People are telling you that if you and your church don’t get connected to this new media that you’re going to get left behind and miss out.

But there has got to be a more compelling reason for a church, ministry or non-profit to sign on to these social media applications than “everybody else is doing it.”

The question you have to ask concerning your organization is, “Why get on board and get involved with Social Media?”

The answer to that question comes from business -they call it ROI, Return On Investment. What is the ROI of Social Media for ministry and your church? In this post, I don’t want to address the quantitative aspect of ROI, but rather the qualitative.

How does social media improve the quality of ministry and help move the church’s objectives forward?

I believe there needs to be 3 ROI Quality Goals and Objectives for Social Media

1. Communication
2. Connecting
3. Call to Action

Let me break these down:

1. Communication – Social Media must help the church effectively and efficiently communicate it’s message. Certainly Social Media isn’t the only medium. A church can communicate to it’s people on the Sunday morning platform, bulletins, mailings, phone calls, emails, face-to-face conversations, television, radio etc… Social Media, though, becomes just another effective tool to add to the church’s communication mosaic. But Social Media has some unique benefits all it’s own in effectively communicating:

– it’s easy and effortless, it doesn’t take much money or manpower to implement or use it.
– it’s ubiquitous, since it is so available and pervasive it isn’t hard for people to miss the message.
– it’s variety, social media takes many different forms, words, audio and image.
– it’s viral, the beauty of social media is that your message can expand well beyond it’s intended audience – therefore exposing and introducing new people to your cause and community.

2. Connecting – Social Media must connect your community. Unlike communication which most often pushes information in a “one-way” direction, connecting must create a conversation. You must ask, Will Social Media create conversation within the community? Are people able to talk to you the minister/ministry team leader? Can they talk to one another? Also, part of the conversation involves other key elements:

– contribute, can others contribute in helpful and meaningful ways to the conversation? Are they even able to shape the conversation?
– collaborate, does your social media allow the benefits from the collective hive of experience, skills and knowledge from your community?

3. Call to Action – Social Media must prompt people to do something. It can’t be passive. Some of the calls to ACTION might include:

– Go, are you asking someone to go and serve others in some way?
– Give, are you asking someone to give either of their time or financially to the cause?
– Pray, are you calling people to act in concerted and persevering prayer?
-Mobilize, are you asking people to spread the message of the cause to their friends and networks?

So as you think about Social Media for your church, ministry or non-profit, you must ask yourself….How will this new Social Media “thing” help our church, ministry or organization Communicate, Connect our Community, and Call People to Action?

If you have a clear answer to that question, then most definitely your church should invest in Social Media.



24 06 2013

Social-Network-Marketing-BusinessThis is precisely what we teach in Bridgebuilders course INTERNET EVANGELISM AND SOCIAL NETWORKING TOOLS


Attractional vs. Missional. It’s all the buzz. But have you applied the thinking to your website?

An attractional website:

Is a destination on the web.
It is static and doesn’t change much.
It is difficult to foster relationship and communication.
It looks good and gives all the critical information about the church in one place.

A missional website:

Is dispersed widely across the internet and found in many different places (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Community Forums, Blogs, Google Ads, etc.)
Everyone can play and interact with the content pushed online. It is social by nature.
It can be found in the online communities where everyday people interact on the web.
It is often discovered because of relevant content and social interaction rather than directly sought out.
The critical information about the church can be difficult to find.

Just as church models are evolving, so is the internet. Ten years ago church website were largely static pages on the internet. They were little more than an online brochure, a destination to learn more about the church. Sites were build to be attractive. The site’s ease of use and look communicated something about the church. It still does today. The internet at this point was a popularity contest. Every link to the site was like as vote for best church website. To get found online, you simply had to be the most popular.

But the internet has changed. It is now largely about social and content. A church’s web presence cannot only be in one static place. A common phrase in missional circles is “The Church has left the building.” Applied to web presence, “The Church has left it’s domain.” To be relevant today, church websites have to be missional. They have to go where the people are. This is why it is critical to have an interactive presence in social media.

Interactive is the key. You can’t just hop on Facebook and start shouting out church announcements. Put your megaphone done and have a conversation. This can’t be accomplished with just the church staff. You have to get the entire congregation involved and help them be evangelists on the web. Open their eyes to how their online communication can be seeded with the gospel. If you just make announcements, you’ll be annoying. Stop it.

It used to be that links to your site were the key metric in the popularity contest on the web. Now content is king. Google will evaluate everything on the web tied to your church. All of your website, podcasts, blogs, social media outlets, white papers, webinars, etc are evaluated. The more Google can see that your content is relevant (measured by sharing, re-posting, liking, etc.), the more you will show up in search results.

Here are a few tips to start moving from attractional to missional with your website:

Distribute lots of content. You already create lots of content (sermons, small group lessons, parenting classes, etc.) With a couple of tweaks this content can be easily transformed into blog posts, podcasts, white papers and more. Move all of your content online.
Pick a couple of social media outlets and do them well. You can’t jump into every online community. Pick a few (Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) and get social.
Model for your congregation how to interact online with the gospel in mind. Spread seeds of hope and love in your communication and don’t just point back to your website; point to Jesus. People are raw online, be equally raw and transparent about the hope we have in Jesus.


2 06 2011

This an excellent post from James Nored on his Missional Outreach Network blog.  I urge you to subscribe.

James Nored

The Gospel Spreads through Social Networking – Lessons from Jesus & the Early Church

I am not opposed to “advertising” for the church, particularly if it is tied to offering to meet a felt need in the community. But the most powerful form of “advertising” is the sharing of the gospel person to person through social networking. Today, obviously, we have tremendous online social networking tools (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that we need to utilize to reach the lost. But even without these tools, the early church grew from a small band of disciples in the first century to an Empire-wide force in the 4th century through person-to-person, “social networking.”


Jesus was certainly shaped by his social connections, and his ministry was launched through social networking connections. On a divine level, he was sent by the Father to the earth, and he was conceived through the Holy Spirit. The Father was well pleased at his baptism, and the Spirit descended upon him at this time (Matt. 3:13-17). On a human level, Jesus was raised by parents that sought to be obedient to God (Luke 1:21-40), and he followed the ministry of his relative, John the Baptist, preaching this same message: “Repent for the Kingdom of God is near” (Matt. 3:2; 4:17).[1] While his mother, brothers, and sisters were at times skeptical of his messianic claims, after his death and resurrection his mother Mary and his brothers were present at Pentecost, and his brother James became a foundational figure in the church in Jerusalem (Acts 1:14; 15:13; 21:17).

The synoptic gospels seem to portray Jesus calling the disciples out of nowhere and without any prior connections; however, the gospel of John makes it clear that Jesus used social networking as he made this call, beginning with Andrew, one of John the Baptist’s followers, and then spreading through Andrew’s family and friends (Jn. 1:40-42).[2] Jesus of course also worked through other social structures of his day to spread the gospel, including the rabbinical schools, the synagogues, and agrarian society. Galilee, where Jesus grew up, also would have provided Jesus with various points of connection, serving as a physical hub connecting him to all sorts of people, including fishermen, farmers, tradesmen, artisans, tax collectors, and others.[3]

The early Christians followed Christ, sought to be like him, and took up his call to be fishers of people seriously. Moreover, missiologist Eckhard J. Schnabel asserts that the early Christians followed Christ’s life and mission even on the strategy level, for “they confessed Jesus not only as Messiah but also as Kyrios: his behavior was the model and the standard for their own behavior.” [4] An examination of the early Church’s outreach strategy shows that the Church followed Jesus’ model of social networking.

On Pentecost, the number of Jesus’ followers who were gathered together was a mere 120 people. Yet, as the Spirit of God was poured out and Peter preached the gospel message, more than 3000 responded (Acts 2:1-41). While the apostles and other evangelists would play a key role in the spread of the gospel, increasingly the gospel would be spread by these ordinary Christians through their own social circles.

The structure of the book of Acts is made up of radiating people-group circles, with the command to take the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). This rate of the transmission of the gospel through social networks would increase as persecution broke out against the Church and “all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8:1).

As has long been noted, the physical and social structures of the world of the early Church made networking possible on a grander scale. The Roman roads connected cities around the Empire, and those at Pentecost and those scattered by persecution were able to quickly take the gospel to their old or newly developed social networks. The common Greek language provided not only understandability, but a common way of thinking and a reference point for those sharing the gospel. The Diaspora assisted in the message transmission, with the synagogues serving as nodes or distribution hubs, connecting missionaries like Paul to family, friends, and a vast network of people who already believed in God and were looking for a Messiah. And as Paul goes through the household codes in his letters to Christians and draws out the implications for the gospel, he repeatedly encourages his readers to reach out to outsiders, make the most of every conversation, and impact every social stratum which they occupy for Christ (Col. 3:18-4:6).[5]


As noted above, while the gospel message spread through apostles, evangelists, and missionary bishops, it spread primarily through ordinary Christians. Unlike the public evangelism of the “full time” evangelists, this “ordinary evangelism” would have worked primarily through social circles. This is the very type of evangelism on display in Origen’s response to Celsus, who charged that Christians spread their beliefs in women’s quarters, leather shops, and laundries.[6]
In its beginnings, it appears that Christianity was largely a movement amongst the lower class, Jews, women, and agrarian society in Palestine, but it soon became a movement that encompassed Gentiles, men and women, the educated, and urbanites across the Roman Empire.[7] While there were many sociological, religious, and political reasons for this, social networking played a major role in the numerical growth and demographic shift of Christians in the first three centuries.

How can we use social networking today to share the gospel and start a new movement for Christ?


[1] Jesus’ connection to John the Baptist undoubtedly helped him tremendously in launching his ministry, a concept that is both testified to in the gospels (John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus) and by social construction theory. The authors of Palestine in the Time of Jesus state that kinship was the primary social domain of ancient Mediterranean societies, followed by political structures and associations. K. C. Hanson and Douglas E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus: Social Structures and Social Conflicts (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1998), 20.


[2] “Instead of immediately leaving one’s everyday work place and following without hesitation, [in John] there is networking with kin and friends in the villages.” See Dennis C. Duling, “The Jesus Movement and Social Network Analysis: (Part Ii. The Social Network).” Biblical Theology Bulletin (2000). http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-94331533.html (accessed 5-14-09).


[3] See Hanson and Oakman, 99-129. See also Dennis C. Duling, “The Jesus Movement and Social Network Analysis (Part I: The Spatial Network),” Biblical Theology Bulletin (1999). http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-94332368.html (accessed 5-21-09).


[4] Eckhard J. Schnabel, Early Christian Mission, vol. 2 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 1544.

[5] For a summary of the conditions that favored the spread of Christianity, including the Roman roads and common language, see Everett Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity, Second ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1993), 579-80. In regards to the Diaspora, Stark writes, “In all the major centers of the empire were substantial settlements of Diasporan Jews who were accustomed to receiving teachers from Jerusalem. Moreover, the missionaries were likely to have family and friendship connections within at least some of the Diasporan communities. Indeed, if Paul is a typical example, the missionaries were themselves Hellenized Jews.” See Stark, 62.

[6] Green, Evangelism in the Early Church, 208-09.


[7] Stark’s entire work, The Rise of Christianity, lays out these reasons and others for Christianity’s growth in the early centuries. Stark.