How to Create Breakthrough Social Media for Your Church


Recently, my team and I were talking about trends that we're seeing on social media from other churches. We've started to notice a pattern that happens every Saturday.

We call it the "Saturday Can't Wait."

Every Saturday, like clockwork, churches all across the country post on Instagram and Facebook images of their church (usually it's pictures of Sunday-morning greeters), with the caption "We can't wait to see you tomorrow."

Why do churches do this? Well, probably because everyone else does. Of course, the problem is that these types of posts over time start to have diminishing returns. Your audience is eventually going to tune out of your church's social media.

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So, how do you create breakthrough social media that isn't just another "We can't wait to worship with you!" post?

The first thing you need to realize is that audiences are craving real, authentic moments. They've become blind to the highly produced content that seems to be made for generic masses. They're wanting something that is unique and connects with them on a deeper level.

The second thing you need to realize is that there's a difference between creating versus documenting. If you can shift your thinking and understand the difference between the two, then you can start to break through to your church's audience.

Creating versus Documenting

Now when I say, "breakthrough social media content," you're probably thinking that you don't have the time or resources to make that happen. This where creating versus documenting comes in.

When I say, "creating," I'm referring to the act of the crafting produced content for your church's social media channels. This is content that usually requires some level of production or planning ahead. Here are some quick examples:

—Announcement Videos.

—Sermon Clips.

—Scripture or Sermon Quote Graphics.

—Testimonial Videos.

The ideas above are solid pieces of content that you can create for your church. The issue is that these ideas can take up a lot of time and resources. Plus it can also create a sense of being overwhelmed when you start comparing your church with other churches and you see how well-resourced other churches are.

This sense of being overwhelmed can then translate into inaction because you feel like your church can't "compete" with other churches. This is why reframing your thoughts on social media towards documenting instead of creating is so powerful.

Documenting is the act of capturing moments in real time. Documenting is showing real life moments in real time. It requires a lot fewer resources and working knowledge of design or video production. Here are some quick examples of what you can document for your church:

—Your worship service planning process.

—Worship band or choir rehearsals.

—Small group success stories.

—Community missions moments (food drives, benevolence and so on).

—Daily devotional (delivered via video).

Again, the ideas above don't require a production team, all you need is a smartphone. Just simply take out the phone, open the social media app of your choosing (Facebook, Instagram or others) and start filming. There's no need to get it perfect. Your audience will forgive the imperfections because the moments that you are documenting are real, and that's what the audience is looking for—real authentic moments.

Not only will documenting create authentic content for your social media channels, it will also increase the frequency of posts on your church's social media channels.

Of course, there's a place for well-produced content that you've created for your church's social media channels. However, you can't let that content be the sole type of content that you're posting for your church. Instead, focus the majority of your efforts on documenting and give your audience the real-life moments they're wanting.

Darrel Girardier serves as the digital strategy director at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee where he oversees the digital, design and video production teams. Previously, he was a creative director at LifeWay Christian Resources.

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