Four: After church is over, if you wish to give a report on Facebook, try saying something specific.
I read them all the time. Pastors will say “God really moved at Mount Pisgah this morning.” Or, “What a great day we had at Grace Church!” Or, maybe “You should have been at Pleasant Ridge today. It just keeps getting better and better.”
One that I see a lot goes: “The Spirit moved this morning at our church.” What, I wonder, does the writer mean by that? And how does the outsider–the non-spiritual person–read it? It could be saying something as simple as “Boy, we really enjoyed ourselves today,” or “The attendance was up and the pews were filled,” or “We had 13 people come to Jesus and 12 were baptized.” Or it might mean “Sister Crankshaft was absent today so I didn’t have to listen to her constant belly-aching about the hymn choice, the clothes I’m wearing, or the noise the teens were making in the balcony.”
It is not necessary, pastor, to give a summary of the morning church service, or of your sermon. (No one does, but I’m just saying that this is not what we’re calling for.) Whatwould be great, however, would be to tell us something funny that happened in church today, something unexpected, some insight you received in the middle of the sermon, or something memorable that was said. If you were doing the children’s sermon and a five-year-old said something that brought the house down, we want to hear about it.
Do not tell us that the service was wonderful; tell us why it was so.
Five: These days, the technology is such that you can post a brief video of a sermon snippet or a sliver of a choir special. It’s the next best thing to being there.
One minute is enough. People who go to Facebook are used to tiny samples of everything. Now, on Youtube, you can post hour-long sermons and full-length oratorios. (Last week, I listened to four of a friend’s half-hour sermons at his request. He posted them on Youtube and the last time I checked, around a dozen people had viewed them. The point is, you can post almost anything on these internet vehicles these days.
It’s a wonderful world.
So, pastor, if you are trying to pull in outsiders and the unchurched–and who isn’t?–consider finding the techno-savvy members of your flock and get them to help you post little snippets of songs or sermons or whatever that would represent your church well and connect with viewers.
Remember this ironclad rule, pastor: if it’s boring to your wife and children, it will be to the public at large. The fact that it’s of interest to you is useless. We pastors are a strange lot. We will come across a historical insight about the ancient Jerichoans or remnants of the Hittite civilization and find it fascinating and consider building a full sermon around it. Arrgghh! Don’t do it.(That sort of thing is best saved for sessions with other pastors or small groups where informality is the rule and the clock not an issue.)
Post on Facebook only something you and your test group–your wife and kids–found delightful or moving. Skip the other stuff.
There are a dozen other great insights on how to use Facebook to promote your church and draw in outsiders, but I don’t know what they are. If you do, please tell us in the comments section below. All input is welcome. Just remember to keep it positive and practical.