Thursday, January 09, 2014
In order to share hope, comfort and peace in the aftermath of a tragedy, your church needs a platform to respond. You need to have a channel ready to go so when some new tragedy strikes (and sadly there’s always a new tragedy) you know where and how to respond. You need to have those systems in place so they’re ready to go.That just makes my skin crawl. We NEED "a platform" to respond to tragedy? Need?! Tragedy is as old as human history. Somehow churches have responded to them, sometimes quite well, without the Internet, for a couple of millenia. That does not mean that a social media platform is not a useful tool in such a situation, but let's be careful with our rhetoric here.
The ad-hock email list in your pastor’s Outlook isn’t going to cut it. A private social network where you can only reach your congregation will limit your ability to truly help. Get a real platform where you can actually reach your congregation and beyond.
- Any Platform Works: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, a blog, email list, etc. Whatever format works for your church and your capabilities.
- Use It Regularly: It should be something you use on a regular basis to communicate with your church, but you can ramp it up when the need is great.
- Build Your Audience: It should be part of your standard communication efforts—you don’t want to launch something new with no audience in the middle of a tragedy.
- Flexibility & Speed Are Key: You want a platform that offers immediate access without help. If graphics are required or you need a developer, that’s too slow. If your pastor can’t write on the fly but has an iPhone, YouTube might be perfect. You might even pair multiple channels, using Twitter for quick updates and pointing people to your website for more details.
This strikes me as a classic case of "when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Genuine ministry in such a situation is person to person, relational. A social media platform can be useful in organizing that, BUT IT IS NO SUBSTITUTE. And as regards to the spontaneous growth of one - nonsense. I personally watched one emerge in my church in a matter of hours on Facebook when the SoCal Station Fire tore through the neighborhood. But again, it was an organizational tool, not the ministry proper.
It is this kind of over hype that can land the church in deep trouble. People begin to take it seriously, priorities get skewed, and viola, that which is a tool becomes the point of the exercise.
church priorities tools