Social Media

Instagram is a very handy and productive social media tool.
Instagram is a very handy and productive social media tool. (iStock photo)

In previous posts, I've covered how pastors, church leaders and churches can most effectively use Facebook and Twitter. Today, I turn my attention to Instagram.

This picture-based social network can help build affinity, promote events and provide inspiring insight into the inner-workings of your church. And now that the apps offer multi-account functionality, using Instagram has never been easier for pastors and church leaders.

But when it comes to using Instagram strategically for ministry, you have to post more than pics of food and lattes. So here are five ways you can use Instagram in a ministry context:

1. Keep it informal. Pastors, give your members an inside glimpse into your day. Don't just post your sermon quotes or pictures of you preaching. Give them a look into your family life. Show them how you are ministering outside the walls of the church.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

2. Take followers behind the scenes of the church. Provide glimpses into your sermon prep time. Point out special items in your office. Showcase the people who clean the toilets or serve in any weekday ministries. Don't let your account (Instagram or any other network) be all about you. Use it to help shepherd your people well.

3. Post pictures of your community and how you are enjoying your city. This reminds people of their mission. They will see you out and about and naturally follow your lead. Much of discipleship is caught, not taught.

4. Don't post links in a post. Yes, this is a technical tip. But if you post links that you want people to click, it could indicate you really don't know what you're doing. Why? Because the links in Instagram aren't clickable.

5. Use relevant hashtags. Searching hashtags is one of the main ways Instagram accounts are found by new followers. So feel free to use a couple hashtags as long as they are related to the content.

Instagram can become an effective ministry tool if used appropriately and strategically.

What other tips would you add to these five?

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.

For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders