This past Sunday, Lady Gaga posted this photo of her priest on her Facebook page and wrote this:

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“Thank you Father Duffell for a beautiful homily as always and lunch at my pop’s restaurant.

I was so moved today when you said.. “The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect but the food that God gives us.” – Father Duffell, Blessed Sacrament Church

Nourishment.”

This is exactly what you want your members to be posting after church on Sunday.  Or even during church.

I’m sure Lady Gaga doesn’t come to mind when we think of evangelists, but that it exactly what she is.  Lady Gaga was sharing the Gospel on her Facebook page to the 61 and half million fans who like her page.

Your members don’t have millions of fans.  But the average person on Facebook has about 338 friends.  And their testimony about their church is just as important to their friends as Lady Gaga’s is to her fans.  Probably more so because people are probably more likely to listen to their friends than their favorite celebrity.

This is why companies woo their customers on social media and encourage them to share their page and posts.  They know that customer testimony is far more effective than any advertising they can do.  People trust their friends.

If my friend recommends a restaurant, I am much more likely to try it out than if I see a commercial.

If your members are sharing quotes from your sermons and what it means to them or even just talking about how nice the people are in their church, their friends will pay attention.

 

While paid Facebook ads are a great idea and are proven to be effective, the testimony of a friend who has been to church and is willing to talk about it online is a far greater witness.

For as long as I can remember pastors have struggled to help their members talk about Jesus and their faith, or even invite a neighbor to church.   People find it is much easier to do this on social media.

People are afraid of being offensive or pushing their religion on others.  When they share their faith on their Facebook wall, nobody is being forced into anything.  They can comment (positively or negatively), they can ask questions, or they can just move on to the next item on their newsfeed.   But even if they move on, they may think about it.

Social media evangelism IS evangelism and it is effective.

Lady Gaga knows this.  Do your folks?

 

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.

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