Social Media Ministry Engagement

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on May 17, 2016

in Uncategorized

Social media from cutout newspaper headlines pinned to a cork bulletin boardWe hear over and over again that an engaging and welcoming online presence is essential if we want to connect with and influence our members both current and potential. This means we need a quality website and an engaging social media presence.

I’ve written a lot about websites in the past two months, so let’s talk about the importance of social media.  Our Popes get it.  Pope Benedict initiated @Pontifex on Twitter which Pope Francis has continued and recently Pope Francis started an account on Instagram.  If we want to connect with all of God’s children, we need to be on social media.

Here are some 2016 social media statistics.  Pay special attention to the age groups on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.


Social Media Users Infographics 2016

[ Source Digital Marketing Company UAE – GMI ]

Based on sheer numbers, it is clear that ministries are wise to have Facebook pages and if we want to engage younger people we may also want to be on YouTube, Twitter and/or Instagram. Of course, we have to be more than “on” them, we need to be using them effectively to engage users.

What is your ministry social media presence? Please take the short survey at this link  and/or comment below.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

marika May 17, 2016 at 8:57 am

I am hoping to start something for our diocese on Instagram and perhaps on SnapChat. I think SnapChat (especially in the ability to tell “stories”) is going to be an interesting platform to watch.

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND May 17, 2016 at 10:31 am

Thanks Marika. I see how Instagram could be an asset for ministry. I am not sure how you can use SnapChat for ministry–as the snaps disappear. I guess it would depend on the people who are engaging with you. If you try it, please let us know how it works.

Pilar May 17, 2016 at 1:40 pm

Sr. Susan, I agree that an online presence across multiple platforms is greatly needed. How do we get pastors and parish administration to understand that these tools are essential even though they can be time consuming? Do you have any tips on how someone on a part-time schedule can add these tools to their schedule and do it effectively? I recall the saying, “You get what you pay for.” and we know there are parishes that aren’t willing or able to pay staff to incorporate these online tools into parish communication. Have you found any parishes where this gets done effectively by volunteers?

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND May 17, 2016 at 2:17 pm

You raise a very important question and it does not have a simple answer. As you say there are “parishes that aren’t willing or able to pay staff to incorporate these online tools into parish communications…. I would guess this is true for the majority of parishes. For those who only want to put their announcements and donations online–a volunteer can do that. But if they see online presence as a MINISTRY, there are three areas that have to intersect: perspective, knowledge and skills. Perspective deals with outlook: Are we committed to “taking the good news into every element of society” (Evangelization in the Modern World); to passing the faith on to the younger as well as older generations including those who are not coming to Church; and to using new methods to do so. Knowledge involves an understanding of discipleship that is theologically and pastorally sound. Skill is the ability to use the various digital platforms to engage followers in a creative and pastoral way according to their concerns and stages of life. I think it would be exceptional to find one person in a parish who embodies all three areas. That means we need partners or teams to carry this out-which takes time and collaboration. Not easy to find these days–when web presence is neither a priority or a ministry. Unfortunately, I don’t know any parishes where volunteers are doing this ministry effectively. If any of our readers have examples, I welcome their sharing.

maureen May 24, 2016 at 9:57 am

Susan, it was really interesting to see the United States having the highest mark in each of these areas of social media.
Great information. Thanks

Leave a Comment