From my observations, many parishes that have a Facebook Page are using it solely to broadcast information about their activities. There is nothing wrong with promoting and celebrating events and activities in the parish that build community and give evidence of the parish’s efforts to share the Gospel in many different ways, but a ministry-based Facebook Page requires that the ministry posts over time (i.e. a week or month) outnumber the promotions at least 2-1.
A Ministry-Based Parish Facebook Page can be used for:
- relationship building with people who are both in church on Sunday and those who are not
- evangelization and adult catechesis
- establishing credibility as an organization whose primary mission is to bring Christ’s message to the world
- affirming and celebrating the good that is done at the parish and beyond the church walls
This requires that the person who oversees or manages the parish Facebook Page be a qualified pastoral minister who is in touch with the needs and interests of the people and can bring them the words and images which will
- inspire and encourage them to live their faith more fully and joyfully
- attract those with no faith family to join us and
- encourage those who have been away to return
7 Tips for Managing Your Facebook Page as Ministry
- Make Facebook Posts regularly. I recommend no less than three posts a week and no more than 3 a day. By posting regularly, you are building a relationship with your followers.
- Use photos, picture quotes and videos to engage your followers in your message. It’s all about visuals today.
- When you link to blogs or online articles, be sure to describe why you are sharing this with your followers.
- When followers comment on your Posts, respond either by “Liking” or “Replying” to the comment. This lets them know that you are engaged as well.
- Change your Facebook Cover at least seasonally to keep it fresh.
- Create a list of sources for your ministry posts: liturgical, spiritual, biblical, catechetical, diocesan, national and international Church news that can inspire your content.
- Recruit a parish photographer or become a photographer yourself to capture the various good works of your parishioners so that they can be shared online.
Assess your own parish Facebook Page over the past 30 days. Look at each post and categorize it as a post that primarily 1) advertises a parish activity 2) inspires, encourages, attracts people to live their faith in everyday life 3) Does something else. What does your analysis tell you? If most of your posts are in the second category, you using your parish Facebook page for ministry. If not, you may wish to find a pastoral minister who can help you change that.
Your comments are welcome. Is your parish Facebook Page being used for mission?
My next Post will be September 15, 2015. Enjoy the rest of your summer. I will still be posting on my Catholic Web Solutions Facebook Page and on Twitter @srsusan in case you are interested in following me on either of those sites. You can also subscribe to my daily newspaper here: Catholic e-News Daily. This paper could be one of your social media content sources.