Wait, what? Did you read that headline correctly? Is this guy really trying to argue that the church shouldn’t be on social media? Doesn’t that fly in the face of what practically everyone says about social media?
Yes, you did read that headline correctly. And I’ll admit I wrote that headline specifically to grab your attention. Because yes, basically everyone (including me) agrees that your church should use social media. I’m just playing the devil’s advocate and arguing for the same thing in the opposite way.
So while I do think that most every church should be taking advantage of the massive opportunity social media gives us, here are three instances when your church should not be using social media.
If It’s Distracting From Your Mission
Social media is important. But your church’s mission is more important. Reaching new people online is crucial. But staying true to Christ’s vision for the church is more crucial.
I honestly believe social media can support your church’s mission (unless your mission is to hide and not tell anyone about Jesus; in which case, I don’t want you to represent the church online anyway). But if social media is distracting your church from that mission, it may be time to reevaluate.
Take a moment to remember your church’s mission. If you can’t remember it, that might be the first red flag. Take a few minutes to review your social media channels. Do those two things line up? Would you say your posts and tweets generally promote your mission?
If yes, awesome! Keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re not sure, then start being more intentional about directing these online platforms back to what your church is supposed to be all about. If the answer was no, then it’s time to take a break from social media until you can get the mission back into focus. Social media should support your greater cause, not distract from it.
If You Can’t Do It With Quality
If your church is like most, you’ve got an overworked staff and a limited budget. So you don’t have a ton of time or money to be able to dedicate to social media. And that’s totally understandable. But it doesn’t mean you should compromise the quality of what you’re sharing online.
For too long, the church has been OK with settling for sub-par work. We excuse ourselves by cutting corners because it’s for a good cause. We tell ourselves that Jesus will make up for our shortcomings and poor font choices. But if anything, our lack of excellence online misrepresents Christ. Too often, we make Jesus and the wider Church look bad.
Take a closer look at your church’s social media accounts. Are there any typos or grammatical errors? Have you posted on all accounts within the last month or two? Are the posts about something other than the upcoming sermon series? Were any of the graphics you posted designed using Microsoft Paint?
Your church can use social media with excellence without hiring a professional graphic designer or a full-time marketing agency. You don’t have to be held to the same standards of Fortune 500 brands. Not everything can or should be perfect.
However, you should still expect a certain level of excellence. And if you’re not willing to commit to at least some basic standards, then your church probably shouldn’t be using social media. Or at least hold off until you can set the bar a little higher.
If You Aren’t Interested In Growing
When used correctly, social media can help your church reach new people. Online platforms give you access to new audiences that you would never have been able to access offline. If you’re willing to invest some time and (gasp!) money, you might see a return on that investment.
But that’s not every church. Not every church is willing to take the time to do social media properly. Not every church is willing to invest resources into new opportunities. Not every church wants to grow. Some churches are fine with the status quo. And many churches are closing every year.
What about your church? Do you want to grow and reach new people? Are you willing to try new things and pursue new opportunities? Are you willing to invest time and money into social media to make that happen? Then you should continue to use social media.
If that’s not your church, then that’s OK. Feel free to continue focusing inward. Don’t worry about doing anything differently. You’ve got your hands full with keeping things the same. But do us all a favor and stay off of social media. Because there’s really no point in you wasting your time there.