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Why are churches so far behind?

I was recently asked a question, based on this chart:

If [that chart] is true, then why are churches so far behind in web site design and social media adoption?

Here’s a few thoughts.

They’re not all behind…

Simply in the Atlanta area we have amazing churches like North Point,  with Andy Stanley (@AndyStanley) and his 70,000 followers, that put out an excellent video on YouTube that has nearly 3,000,000 views.  Even the pastor of our comparably smaller church (@IkeReighard) has nearly 2,500 followers and has tweeted over 4,000 times.  Some churches really get it, so we don’t need to paint all churches as being behind.

…but many are

That being said, many churches are certainly behind the curve when it comes to web design and social media.  I won’t name names here, though. 🙂

Why?

Some possible reasons

  • They’re scared. They hear scary stories about social media and decide to avoid the conflict.  Of course, conversations about their church will happen whether they’re involved or not (like James B. Nutter), so they need to be out there and join the conversation.
  • They don’t have enough money. They get a quote for a new website and can’t bear the thought of a $10,000 redesign, so they scrap the whole idea.  However, most churches would do quite well to simply install WordPress (in just 10 minutes) and go from there.  The cost, aside from a few $$/month for hosting, is nothing.
  • They consider it a separate area. Does your church have a “director of phone ministries”?  How about a “director of brochure mailings”?  No?  Of course not!  Yet most churches consider social media to be a distinct area of communication, rather than embedding it throughout the staff.  Your minister could be tweeting thoughts and ideas, your Children’s Director could be posting more on their Facebook Page, and your Men’s Ministry could start a group on LinkedIn for all of the businessmen in the church.  Referring to a particular staff member as “the social media person” means that you don’t get it.  You certainly should have someone oversee the effort and make sure you’re putting forth a consistent message, but everyone needs to be involved.
  • They don’t have enough time. I hear this one the most often — “I just don’t have time”.  Perhaps this explains why most churches ignore people on Twitter.  Of course, if you really want to connect with your community, you need to go where they are.  In Cobb County, Georgia (where I live), it’s estimated that residents spend roughly 1.5 million hours per week on Facebook.  You don’t have time to connect with them?  Really?

What do you think?

Do you feel that churches are falling behind?  If so, why?

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Mickey Mellen

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Comments

  1. I think a lot of churches don’t realize how involved their members are involved in social media. Northpoint and Andy Stanley have embraced social media because they know their congregation (which is fairly young) embraces social media. I would guess that churches with older congregations assume that social media isn’t important be cause “Facebook and Twitter are for young folks”. And that assumption is simply wrong. I know many older folks (like my dad) who are very active on Facebook.

    Churches need to realize that Facebook and Twitter, while likely used more heavily by younger generations, do have older adults that are active. Additionally, if you have an older congregation, what better way to attract the younger generation than with informative Facebook and Twitter accounts? You simply can’t ignore advances in technology if you hope to grow as a church. Facebook and Twitter can be very powerful ministry tools when used correctly.

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