With 1 billion people using Facebook, it is probably the most powerful social media site on the web. 1 out of every 7 people on earth are on Facebook! While many people use the site for narcissistic self-promotion, it can be an effective way to connect with your Connection Group members (PBC’s Facebook group has 628 members, as of today!). Here are some pointers for using Facebook for ministry.
1. Set up a private group.
This is very simple to do and allows you to post on your group’s wall without the whole world (or at least 1/7 of it) seeing. You can post pictures of group gatherings, encouraging thoughts, Scripture for the day, and just about anything you want, all within the “privacy” of your group. Make sure your group is by invitation only, and don’t forget to invite/add your Connection Group members!
2. Send private messages to individuals.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people post inappropriate comments on another person’s wall. Basic rule of thumb: only post positive/encouraging thoughts on someone’s wall. Never, never, never (did I say never?) put a comment about a personal prayer request on someone’s wall for the whole world to see. If someone shares their own prayer request on their own wall, and you want to leave them an encouraging comment, then that’s okay. Otherwise, just send them a private message.
3. Remember, Facebook isn’t really “private.”
Information that is posted on Facebook, even information posted on the wall of a private group, isn’t really private. Once you post a comment, Facebook actually owns that information and they can use it however they want. Where do you think the ads on the right side of the page come from? They come from the information Facebook gathers about you from your posts and messages! Basic rule of thumb: never share a truly personal or private remark on your Facebook wall, or on your group’s wall. For instance, if you’re struggling with a porn addiction, don’t post that sensitive information on your group’s Facebook wall. Instead, talk about it face to face with other group members of the same gender (men to men, and women to women).
4. Use Facebook’s Events to collect RSVP’s.
One of the best ways to utilize Facebook is by using the “Events” section. Suppose your group is going to have a bowling night. Create an event and invite your Facebook group to it. They will receive a notice and have the opportunity to RSVP. Many smartphones now have the option to sync the calendar app on your phone with your Facebook events, meaning you’ll always have a reminder of the upcoming event. Plus you, the leader, can get a feel for how many people will actually show.
5. Flood Facebook with Scripture.
I encourage people to post Scriptures on their Facebook status updates. It could be as simple as one of the verses you read that day. I also encourage people to “like” or repost verses their friends share. You can use Facebook to post encouraging verses on the walls of your group members, or post a verse-of-the-day on your group’s private wall. If there are 1 billion people on Facebook, we may as well put as much of God’s Word out there for the world to see as we possibly can!
6. Remember Facebook doesn’t replace face time.
All the online social media systems in the world don’t compare with real, face-to-face interaction. In fact, I believe one of the reasons Facebook and other sites are so popular is because people crave personal interaction and relationships, but don’t have safe places (like the church and your Connection Group!) to connect, or safe people to trust. Use Facebook to help communicate, but never forget that a few minutes of face time will go a lot further than dozens of online interactions!
What are some other ways you use or don’t use Facebook with your group?