Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

How important is Social Media?

I got and email from Leadership Network today and it had an interesting article on churches and social media. It’s pretty dead on in my opinion.

A lot is going on in “social media” today – how should churches define that space?

Churches should view social media as being equally important as their websites and as any other core communication tools they may already be using. Successful churches meet people where they are, and right now the “where” digitally/web-wise is, without question, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other related social media forums. If you want to be part of the conversation on any level, you have to be around the same table as those you’re trying to converse with.

Why does social media matter?

First, social media is a game changer. Right now the community-wide water cooler is social media, predominantly Facebook.

This is where people talk about their lives, their needs, what’s important to them, their struggles and their victories. The church needs to be “hearing” these things and then responding when appropriate. It’s a window into the lives of your people and the people you are trying to reach. No longer are you dependent on someone calling you to deliver news; there’s a constant stream of it right there in front of you.

A second reason is relevance: a relevant church knows and understands the things that impact its people and its community. If you’re in a farming community you should know all about rainfall, government subsidies and all the other things that affect your community. If you’re in a suburb it’s typically all about the schools and the ball fields. Social media is bigger than all that because wherever you live it encompasses every single part of daily life. Being part of that shows you care, that you get it, and that you’re not out of touch.

What are some statistics about the various types of media that churches shouldconsider?

Facebook has more than 400 million active users globally, with over 100 million in the U.S. alone. Women use Facebook more than men and they are primary communicators for their families, especially for church stuff.

The largest segment is people between 18-54 years old. Half of active users log onto Facebook on any given day. On top of that, more than 100 million active users currently access Facebook through their mobile devices.

Statistics get a little fuzzier for Twitter. The word active is important here because more than 60% of Twitter users abandon their accounts within first month. There were just over 20 million active users by the end of 2009, mostly in the United States. That is expected to rise to about 26 million in 2010.

About 10% of the users generate 90% of the content. In other words, there is more listening than talking. It is more of a conduit to you as opposed to from you. It is more of a professional tool than a personal tool in contrast to Facebook.

Twitter can be a great tool if your crowd uses it, but if not don’t expect to convince them on it just because you are tweeting.

How important is it for churches to match their audience with the right media?

Extremely. When you do anything as a church you have to ask “why” and “who are we doing this for?”

If you’re a small, declining church full of senior citizens, social media is probably a waste of time for you. although that may change in years to come. If you’re an “average” church reaching a good mix of all ages, Facebook is for you as it will touch the most people. Twitter is more of a professional tool used by a professional crowd, and even then it’s still used by a small percentage of those folks.

For example, the church where I am a member is about 1,500 in attendance each week, it is very affluent and it’s in an upper middle class area. There are tons of professionals but realistically less than 20% are probably active on Twitter — and that’s being generous. For most churches, Facebook is the best way to go.

What are the first steps in establishing this type of approach?

First, know your audience, what they are using and how they are using it. So survey your crowd. Second, know who is going to monitor and maintain everything and make it part of their job description. If this isn’t planned out it will fall flat, just like most church websites do. And third, if you need help, hire a coach/consultant to come in for a few hours or a day and walk you through everything.

What are the negatives with social media?

In general it can become a huge time sucker. There is a fine line between using it and letting it use you. You need to be strategic and intentional in how you use it. Also if you’re the type of church that is very image conscious, you need to be careful about who is responsible for speaking on your behalf in these forums. It has to be someone you trust to make wise decisions, but it shouldn’t need to be the pastor, who probably already has enough to do.

Should all pastors Twitter? In a recent gathering of our next generation pastors group they said they all do.

“All” pastors should not. But those who are eager to learn and value input from others can greatly benefit from the flow of information that can come to them via Twitter. For next generation pastors it’s a no-brainer. It’s a great way to hear about new books, conferences, trends, blogs, what’s working and what’s not, etc. — it’s a great listening device. And for those who have something of value to add to the conversation, it is the perfect forum to engage in the exchange of ideas.

That jives with what they said. They find it a small part of their communication with their congregation but a big part of communicating with other pastors.

What does your company do to help churches in this area?

Big Picture Media provides all level of coaching/consulting related to social media, from on-site, to web and phone support, one time or ongoing. We can help a church develop a social media strategy as part of their overall communications plan. We can help them create that entire plan or help to incorporate the social media component into whatever strategy is pre-existing.

We also do anything and everything related to media. Branding, market positioning, overall communication strategy development, copywriting, print design, web design, video production, etc.  Our team has 30 + years of church staff experience and all are heavily involved in their local ministries and churches. We speak the language, we walk the talk, and we love what we do.

You can connect with Mark via Twitter at, at his blog at, or you through the Big Picture Media web site which is

Mac Powell Says Hello

A couple of weeks ago a few of us from New Vintage Church had dinner with Mac and Aimee Powell while we were in Atlanta, Ga. He wanted to send our church a quick hello…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Mac Powell Says Hello on Vimeo“, posted with vodpod

601 Posts

Wow. I can’t believe this is post number 601. I started this blog in July of 2005. We’re approaching the 5-year mark this July (and my marriage is approaching it’s 5-year this August!!!!!). I’ve had a love-hate relationship with keeping this up-to-date and right now we’re in an up-swing. Here are 5 randomly selected posts from the past:

Change is Good. – July 2005
To Engage or Disengage Culture? That is the Question – November 2007
The Power of Positive Prevention – December 2007
Scurdy Cat Meets Cooper Dog –  May 2008
Glory to God Forever || A Story – July 2009


If you want to keep up with our family, our journey, or for some crazy reason, my strange blog posts…the best way to make sure you never miss a post is to subscribe via email. That way whenever I update the blog it is automatically sent to your email inbox and you don’t even have to browse to the blog anymore. Click here to get on the email list.

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A Guest Blogs About NVC

Every once in a while it is good to do a quick search on google to see what people are saying about you. I found this blog and here’s an article someone wrote about our church after visiting in December.

“Let me first say that it has really been refreshing to be in the company of fellow followers of Jesus who call Santa Rosa home.  We (Valerie and I) have now worshipped with ten different congregations and we plan on going to at least 30 more before we start to seriously consider the question as to where we feel the Father leading us in terms of a church home.  A few weeks back we attended the New Vintage Church which holds its Sunday services at the Wells Fargo Center for the Performing Arts.  After the service, Val and I shared our admiration and appreciation for the message shared by the congregation’s pastor, Andy.  He gave a gutsy, biblically vibrant, compassionate message about God’s design for sex.  Having given more than my share of messages on this topic I could appreciate the courage and care Andy exhibited towards the people as he intersected and interrupted the culture’s conversation about this area of life. I really appreciated the fact that this congregation is not only committed to being relevant in terms of its service format but is equally committed to communicating a message that can serve and support people in the deepest, often times most troubling parts of their lives. I love New Vintage’s two locations particularly because I pass both of them all the time and it provides me with a great opportunity to pray for Andy and the members of our Santa Rosa community who call New Vintage home.”

Sunday in 33 Snapshots

A couple of weeks ago I took a bunch of video from my Sunday experience. I only took video from up through second service and didn’t get tear down in there. But you get the idea. This is about to happen for me again tomorrow.

What’s the busiest day in your week?

Josiah Watching @NPOnline

North Point Community Church has a live internet campus during their 6pm (3pm West Coast) services on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes I tune in on my iPhone. Josiah heard the music and wanted to join in. Follow @NPOnline on twitter to be up to speed with how they are reaching the lost.