7 Reasons You Need Social Media as a Christian Leader

So maybe “need” is too strong of a word. Perhaps you can do everything I will suggest as reasons to be involved with social media without social media (Although I would question how well you can these days) but I don’t think anyone could argue social media is not a large part of our culture today. Because it is such an influence, today’s successful leaders, including those in the church, must figure out how to make it work for them and make their ministries even more successful.

For me that currently means Twitter, Facebook and blogging. Not everyone has to do all three, but I have found them to each have unique benefits in my ministry.  (I have written about how I use these tools HERE and HERE.)

Here are 7 reasons you should be using social media:

Networking with people who are making a difference. I get to interact with and learn from church leaders who have already walked where I am walking. Most of these connections would never be possible apart from social media.

Go where people are. The number one way my church contacts me is through Facebook. The people I’m trying to reach and minister to spend more time on Facebook than they do in the church on Sunday.

You’ll meet great friends. I have met some of my closest friends in ministry these days through social media. No, we don’t keep the friendship to an exclusive online friendship, but the friendships did begin online.

Keep updated on breaking news. Although I have limited time to keep up with all the latest fads, by following the right people and blogs through Twitter, I know quickly what is taking place around the world in the fields of politics, technology, and ministry.

Wise use of time. People think the opposite is true, but the reality is that social media makes me more effective. I have a heart to influence people for good. As pastor of a large church I’m expected to minister to large groups of people. Social media allows me to make a difference more efficiently.  You are reading this, aren’t you?  (BTW, if my social media activity is influencing you, I’d love to hear about it.)

Breaks down barriers between people. It seems harder to get to know people today. They are more guarded and less trusting. When I Tweet (which updates my Facebook) People get a glimpse into the real me and I become more personal to the people in my church and online community. In turn, people are more likely to allow me into the deepest parts of their life when they see me as authentic and approachable.

Stay current with culture. Like it or not, culture determines much of how we are able to reach people. People are doing social media. To continue to allow culture to work for Kingdom grown rather than against it we must remain current with social media.

That’s some of my reasoning. Why and how do you use social media?

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Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 39 Comments

  • Ron, I found you from looking at my who my pastor follows on Twitter. I have been working to improve my leadership skills for my family, church and career (engineering). Your blog posts have helped me to apply Godly principles to all three of these spheres of my life. Although sometimes I feel like getting away from social media, I remain on Facebook and Twitter for many of the same reasons you list. Thank you for your ministry!

  • Cheryl Pugh says:

    Social media has its good and bad points. However, I’ve greatly benefited having access to wise Christian leaders, like yourself, through social networking.

  • rockthecampus says:

    love it…well said…

  • @RickRouth says:

    I completely agree, but I'll add one more thing. Our youth will share FAR more on facebook, twitter, or even text than they will in person or even in a phone conversation. It also lets us see what our youth are really doing throughout the week. For some reason, no matter how much we try to explain otherwise, they seem to believe there are no consequences to what information they post online. One of the things I do value about this is I get to see who their friends are, how they interact, and have the ability to talk to them about the situation before it starts to affect our group or the effects become blatantly obvious (at which point the situation has usually turned very severe).
    I am trying my best to prepare for the coming information age and cope with changes as they occur, but it still weirds me out!

  • burno159 says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with all these reasons. I also use social media to tell stories of changed lives. To cause people to reflect on their own lives. I actually just wrote a post on this recently. Check it out http://joshburns.net

  • Steve_Crenshaw says:

    Ron, so many people look at these things as a waste of time. When they do that they miss an entire group of people. Even if it is not the lead pastor that does the social networking all the time. It needs to be done and kept up with as mentioned by @SLiton.

  • Thanks for the post Ron. As a church staff member I have found that social networking is an amazing tool to keep in touch with your congregation and the people you lead. As you I participate in all three mediums: blog, twitter and facebook. Here are a couple of reasons:
    *congregation becomes a part of your everyday life not just what they see on Sunday
    *you can connect with people's lives throughout the week which then becomes a great way to start face to face conversations on Sunday
    *blogging allows you to post thoughts about how you do ministry and lead teams, which may help the congregation know the 'big picture' that drives decisions
    *it has become a invaluable way to communicate quickly. Example when we had to cancel services due to the Nashville flood.
    *and…it is an amazing way to communicate about prayer needs and celebrate when prayers are answered.

  • @SLitton says:

    Thanks, Ron. I would add that you won't recognize those reasons until you fully commit to social media. Sending a sporadic tweet without engaging will show no return. Too often I speak with leaders who say, "I tried it and I don't get it." And often I find that "tried" is a really loose term.

  • Laurinda says:

    I love reading your blog. It's helped me tremendously. It's a weird time for me. As long as I've walked with the Lord, I've always been able to connect with a great home church. Where I live, there aren't any churches I feel connected to. I'm a member of a Church here. I don't like it much. I serve at local street ministry which isn't a church but a non-profit. And feel more connected to you & Pete Wilson as pastors and Joyce Meyer as a teacher. It's an interesting time in Christianity. Most churches I've been to have said "church is not the building but the people." It's interesting connecting with Christians around the world on-line EVERYDAY of the week vs. Sunday at the building or Saturday night when I serve.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Thank you! You certainly know how to encourage. I understand what you are talking about. That's one reason we started Grace and why it's been so successful. Amazingly, we spend, as a church, more time ministering outside of Sunday morning than we do there. It amazes me how many are looking for what you describe. And…that non-profit…probably is very close to church!
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  • David says:

    I have to heartily agree with the “breaking down barriers” point. I work in campus ministry and used to disdain social media until I found students who never spoke up publicly using it as a confessional and counseling tool to have meetings with me

  • I started blogging because I had a bunch of stuff in my head. It then went to twittering because I was curious.

    It has turned into something in which I can encourage and connect with people. I never would have dreamed that people would read or be encouraged by what I wrote. Praise God for that.

  • Brian Forwood says:

    Ron I have just started my Blog, A Mad Mad World, but I have enjoyed reading some of yours. I see Facebook as an outreach and also as an encouragement to others in their ministries and lives. I believe this is of God and the primary proof, for me, is that it is working. Keep up the good work. Rgds Bj

  • Jeff Stewart says:

    Leonard Sweet predicted this 11 years ago in SoulTsunami: "The Internet will be a key source for relationship in 21-C. Postmoderns are developing rich, varied and complex online lives." p. 193

  • It’s great knowing you,a pastor who is current and godly.More grease to your elbow.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Leonard Sweet, Ron Edmondson, Dr Bex Lewis, gregular, Brandon Lemois and others. Brandon Lemois said: @myen RT @lensweet: 7 Reasons You Need Social Media as a Christian Leader http://bit.ly/bUuG3C […]

  • tcsoko says:

    Your right – I'm a PA in a church and the amount of counseling and pastoral opportunities that come out of facebook is amazing. People tend to be very honest in their facebook status & that it is a remarkable insight into the ups and downs of church members lives.

  • rfbryant says:

    I struggled with this not long ago, wondering if I was wasting my time or using it well when it came to Twitter and Facebook and whether or not I should even have a blog. Oddly enough that very night I received these words from a friend on Facebook:

    " Thank you for the varied quotes and tweets that you share. I read and digest them. Sometimes they are just what I needed to hear and are always a blessing. Keep this ministry going for the people like me who look for the Lords' word but not so much in a group setting . It takes alot for me to quiet my mind and connect with the Holy Spirit. I can often do this after reading some of your blogs. I thank you"

    I'm not wondering anymore.

    • ronedmondson says:

      I love those kinds of things. I get to hear regularly from hurting people in ministry and play a part in encouraging them. I love that part of this! Thanks
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  • This was refreshing for me to read. Sometimes I question my time spent online — even though my purpose is to reach out and encourage others. It doesn't seem as crucial as time spent face to face. But in my current situation it's ideal because it lets me reach many more people.

    I recently read a blog post where a woman wrote about how she came to faith in Christ through a friend's blog. It changed her life and everything in her world. Only God knows the effects of our presence online. I think we'd be amazed if we could see it all. I like your point about going where the people are. You're right. Many of them are here.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Thanks. I agree…I've questioned my involvement too…even more I've been questioned…which prompted the post. You have to learn to work smart about it for it to make sense I think.
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

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