Are you struggling to connect with your community on social media?

If you are sick of being told how awesome social media is for churches, but then when you try it... it bombs (or is just really time-consuming), read this.

You probably don't need to put more hours into it, you probably just need to change your entire approach.

Social media sucks when you're just posting to get something out there on a whim, you get stuck scrolling for an hour for ideas, and then you still have nothing.

You need to connect back to why are you are doing this for your church.

This post is really my overall manifesto for social media for churches. 

Most churches have a lack of understanding of how social media works today. 

The problem is the way many churches are approaching social media and what you may think it’s meant to be used for.

This lack of understanding is making social media a total miss for churches, when it can be one of your most powerful ministry tools.

In this post, we'll discuss the most effective approach to social media growth for churches.

Table of Contents

  1. Adopt A People-Centric Social Media Approach
  2. Don’t post for your church, post for people
  3. Don’t post for marketing, post for ministry
  4. Don’t post promotional content, post valuable content
  5. Don’t post to build an audience, post to build a community
  6. Don’t post to share announcements, post to share stories
  7. Don’t post to gain followers, post to serve others

Adopt A People-Centric Social Media Approach 

The first step in social media growth for churches is to adopt a people-centric approach. 

This means putting your community’s needs and interests first and tailoring your content to meet those needs. 

Instead of focusing on what you want to say, think about what your community needs to hear and create content that will resonate with them. 

The following points are 6 ways you can adopt a people-centric approach to social media growth for your church.

Don’t post for your church, post for people

No one cares what your church does. 

Everyone cares what your church can do for them.

If you keep posting only about what you do, people won’t be super interested.

Most potential followers or people who might visit your church for the first time don’t care about the list of programs your church has, but instead, care about how it makes their lives better and fulfills their needs.

If you want to create better content that connects with your community and reaches more people you need to stop talking about what you do and start talking about how it benefits them.

Your social media posts should speak more about the needs of the people you are trying to reach and less about you or your church.

The main way to embrace this is to make sure the people you are trying to reach are always positioned as the hero in all of your posts.

This is a concept from Storybrand by Donald Miller. 

He talks about how in marketing you need to always position your customer as the hero and your brand as the guide who helps the hero get to where they need to go. 

He teaches that the biggest mistake brands make is they position themselves as the hero in the story instead of the guide. And a brand that positions itself as a hero is not going to connect with people in their marketing.

In the same way, we often position the church as the hero in our social media posts. We talk about how great our church is in terms of the preacher, messages, events or other programs. 

We are unintentionally positioning ourselves as the hero in the story. 

Reminds me of how Jesus is the “hero” in the story, but never positioned Himself in that way. Wow! He is God and came as man to the world.

Through your social media posts position your church as the guide in the story. 

Think of your church as the guide to help someone fulfill their God-given purpose in life, to find Jesus, and to see their life transformed by Him.

Let all of your social media posts reflect this positioning and you’ll start connecting better with people. 

Don’t post for marketing, post for ministry

You may have thought social media is a way to “market” your church, think again.

Social media is the “forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content.”

Social media is for creating communities online to share ideas, information and messages. 

Which makes social media perfect for your church to use to connect with your current community and reach more people. 

If ministry is how we serve people, social media can be a place we go to people and serve.

Ministry can look like meeting people's needs, sharing an encouraging message, praying for someone, teaching people about Jesus, spreading the Good News, serving in the church or even something as simple as sharing a meal with someone.

While you can share a meal with someone on social media, think of social media in this same way. 

Use it for ministry. 

When you create a post for your church’s social media, post it to meet needs, share encouragement or education, pray for people, spread the Good News or serve people in some way.

When you post for “marketing” your goal is to show people how great your church is and why they should visit or join.

In contrast, ministry isn’t about showing how great you are, but it’s about making others great.

Before you publish each post, ask yourself, “How does this help someone?”.

Don’t post promotional content, post valuable content

Another incorrect approach to social media for churches, is to use it for promotion. 

This is a common mistake. 

Although you can and should use social media to promote your church’s services, events and more, your overall approach should not be to promote, promote, promote in every single post.

This is a sure way to lose engagement and interest with your followers.

No one likes to constantly see promotions for any product or service. You eventually tune it out, even for products or services you love or need.

The best way to get people to see your church on social media is counterintuitive. 

You need to promote less and connect more.

Your social media content should provide value to your audience. 

Providing value could be in the form of education, inspiration, encouragement or entertainment. 

Valuable content is anything that “adds value” to someone. 

It is meaningful, helpful or important to them in some way.

You can post promotional content, but you need to post it strategically and couple it with valuable content. 

Don’t post to build an audience, post to build a community

Building an audience is building a group of people who want to listen to you talk, who want to be “fans” or watch people on a stage. 

In contrast, building a community is building a group of people who want to connect with you in a deeper way beyond watching your videos on social media, and people who want to connect with each other as well.

My goal is to get people off social media and into your church.

Social media is not the end goal for me.

Some people either argue you can have everything you need for community or fellowship digitally these days or the opposite that we should forsake it all together because it is evil.

Neither of those are the right approach and here’s why.

First, people need more than digital connection. 

Connection on social media isn’t enough.

If you only saw your children on Facetime and DMs for the rest of your life, would you feel connected? Absolutely, not! 

As humans we need in person connection and we need to see people’s faces to really connect. 

My approach is not to get people staring at their screens longer.

I hate staring at screens or my phone. My husband and I don’t even watch TV or own any streaming services.

My approach for churches is to use social media to reach the people that are already there and see their lives changed for the better.

Second, social media itself is not bad, it’s how and why we use it that can be the problem.

I lean more towards less-screen time because I think it’s better for our health, but I believe if we have social media then we might as well use it for good.

What does this mean for your church’s social media accounts? 

It means, find ways to connect personally with people in DMs and comments and find ways to bring them into your in-person community or another church’s.

Don’t post to share announcements, post to share stories

A lot of churches want to use social media to “spread the word” about their events or services and make sure all the “information is not lost”. 

Social media is not the place to store all your information. 

You don’t own your social media accounts or the people on them. So it’s important to make sure your information lives in a place you own, like your website.

It’s also important to grow your email and phone list to communicate with people through text and email instead of relying on social media. 

If social media goes down, how will you communicate with your church? Probably emails and phone numbers. 

Now that we know where your information should live, what should you post on social media instead of announcements? 

Instead of sharing announcements, share stories.

People are more likely to engage with content that tells a story or creates an emotional connection. 

Use storytelling to share your church's mission, values, and how people’s lives are transformed by God.

Jesus was said to be a great storyteller. He would use parables to metaphorically communicate a truth.

Kenneth Bailey said this: “Jesus was a metaphorical theologian. His primary method of creating meaning was through metaphor, simile, parable, and dramatic action rather than just logic or reasoning.” 

Jesus invites us into parables to show us what life in the Kingdom is really like. 

Along with being what Jesus did, storytelling happens to be a big part of successful marketing campaigns. 

Every time you go to post an announcement, think about how you can share a story instead.

Don’t post to gain popularity, post to serve others.

Don’t try to be popular on social media. 

It can give that serotonin boost when you get lots of likes or followers. 

But don’t run after vanity metrics. 

Focus on the people who are in front of you right now and serving them really well. 

It doesn’t really matter how many followers you have if they aren’t becoming part of your community or being served by your content in some way.

Think about the 100 people who are sitting in front of you, think about what they need and how you can help them.

Imagine if 100 people were actually sitting in a room with you waiting for you to help them with something. That is a lot of people for 1 person to help.

Your impact is bigger than you think. 

Show up for those people, not to look more popular than the church down the road.

When you do that, your posts will in turn end up being shown to more people who may be interested in your content as well.


Adopting a people-centric approach to social media is the most effective way to connect with your online community and grow your church’s social media impact. 

Here’s the 6 tips we covered to adopt a people-centric approach to social media:

  1. Adopt A People-Centric Social Media Approach
  2. Don’t post for your church, post for people
  3. Don’t post for marketing, post for ministry
  4. Don’t post promotional content, post valuable content
  5. Don’t post to build an audience, post to build a community
  6. Don’t post to share announcements, post to share stories
  7. Don’t post to gain followers, post to serve others

It’s time for an entirely new social media approach to reach more people. 

Remember, there are people that only your church can reach on social media. 

What you post does make a difference. Think about the one person who’s life could be changed because they stumbled across your church’s social media account.

Do it for them.

Feb 19, 2023
Social Media

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