Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Have you seen Mars Hill's Myspace page?

Guest post by John Poitevent

Being successful online is not easy, says Biola University's director of innovation, Dave Bourgeois. When it comes to churches, having at least a minimal digital strategy has become crucial in expanding Christian outreach even locally within their own communities. 
It is for this reason that The Christian Post has come up with its first Top 5 Churches That Use Social Media Best list. With the help of DJ Chuang, founder of the resource ministry, Social Media Church, CP has picked five churches based on their successful use of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms to build relationships with not only their own church members, but with active Internet users within the U.S. and internationally. 
"Digital technologies are changing and evolving constantly," writes Bourgeois, who is author of the recently released book, Ministry in the Digital Age - Strategies and best practices for a post-website world. "Websites that were once useful and efficient are now outdated (remember MySpace?). Even the logos and colors we use must keep up with the latest styles; what previously looked cutting edge may now convey the message that your ministry doesn't 'get it' anymore." 
In the introduction of his book, he adds, "If it is true, as Shane Hipps says, that Christianity is fundamentally a communication event, then it is imperative that Christians understand how to use the Internet well." 
Mars Hill Church, based in Seattle and led by Pastor Mark Driscoll made CP's list. Communications Director Justin Dean said that collectively, Mars Hill's social media channels are gaining about 6,000 new followers per week.
"Most of that is gained through people sharing our content with their friends, which puts us in front of new people who then follow us," Dean told CP. "They say content is king and we focus on creating good, valuable content that people will share."
He adds, "We pay a lot of attention to how people engage and interact with our posts. One example is that we recently started posting more images because we noticed that people will share an image 300 to 400 percent more than a post that is just text."
When looking at a church's Internet presence, included in Chuang's analysis are audience engagement, investment of resources, and the amount of social media participation by the church leaders.
Click here to see the Top 5 Churches That Use Social Media Best.
Does your church need help taking social media to the next level?  Consider taking part in Leadership Network's new "Beyond Digital" initiative.

The Beyond Digital Leadership Community brings together innovative church leaders who place a high strategic value on digital tools, tactics, and spaces for accomplishing their church’s mission. These are churches that have made a significant investment in “going digital”, but also recognize that having apps or an internet campus isn’t the extent of their digital reach. There is more to be discovered, much more.

Using the latest research, input, and models from digital strategists across multiple sectors, the Beyond Digital Leadership Community will explore key questions, opportunities, and obstacles related to “all things digital”, leveraging the group’s combined resources, experience, and expertise to develop new models and strategies that will multiply the impact of churches throughout the digital space. Church leaders will be challenged to bring their best technological minds alongside their deepest pastoral hearts to maximize the strength of a balanced, creative team. The result will be the deployment of the most innovative digital tools of our time for the accomplishment of the timeless mission of the Church.

To learn more visit Leadnet: Beyond Digital.

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