We've covered several uses of social media here on the blog in the past. I've even written on the eight most effective ways your church can use Twitter. But that post was geared toward a more comprehensive utilization of the micro-blogging service.
But recently, a friend who runs social media for a church plant asked me about the specifics of using Twitter on Sundays. The question was a great one because it points to a greater benefit of Twitter than its use as an information platform. Because of its brevity and immediacy, Twitter can serve as an experience enhancer.
Since our main "game day" in the church world is Sunday, here are nine ways your church can use Twitter on Sundays:
1. Important Reminders. This is similar to how you would use Twitter during the week, but these serve as last minute reminders. This is especially effective for important Sundays or for events that you might be having that day. As a bonus, these last minute announcements can often be scheduled in advance, and you can avoid worrying about them in the often-hectic time before the service.
2. Sermon Text. Tweeting out the text for the sermon is an easy way to prepare your church members for worship. This scheduled tweet gives attendees the opportunity to read and pray over the text and prepare for corporate worship before they even leave the house.
3. Calling Audibles. Obviously these tweets cannot be scheduled. Maybe there is a parking issue or a weather issue about which you need to notify the congregation. Twitter is a great way to get the word out to a lot of people about changes you may need to make on the fly.
4. Repeating Announcements. If you still have verbal announcements in the service, tweeting a link to more info as each announcement is mentioned gives members and guests a chance to stay informed and take action at a later time. Also, members will always know where to find information if they need it during the week. You are literally training them weekly to check Twitter or the church website for information.
5. Tweeting Sermon Quotes. This is probably the way Twitter is most often used on Sundays. If your pastor preaches from manuscripts, you can even create drafts of your tweets and just send them as the sermon progresses.
6. Providing Song Information. Have you ever really enjoyed a song during a service but not know what song it was? A simple tweet with the set list (or even better, a Spotify playlist) will keep your members and guests informed as to what they are singing and where to find the songs later.
7. Prayer Requests. These tweets work well for corporate prayer times rather than for individual requests. If your church has a special time of prayer for an upcoming missions trip or a world event, tweets about the prayer time can serve as prayer reminders throughout the day and the week.
8. Behind the Scenes Pictures. The possibilities here are endless. A lot of preparation and hard work goes into making a Sunday worship service happen. Tweets showing the behind the scenes action can provide a unique perspective on all that goes on as well as help enlist volunteers for the future. What better way to recruit ministry volunteers than to show your members service opportunities every week?
9. Post-Service Celebrations. These tweets could be from new members classes, post-baptism pictures, nursery cleanup, and so much more. There's likely something you could celebrate every week. Just find it and tweet it.
Sometimes we overthink tweets, especially in the bluster of all that happens on a Sunday morning at a worship gathering. These are but nine ways you can plan to use Twitter on Sundays. But I'm sure there are more. What would you add?
Jonathan Howe serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources, the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week, and the managing editor of LifeWayPastors.com. Jonathan writes weekly at ThomRainer.com on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.
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