By Phil Bowdle
Christmas is coming, and you’re probably reacting in one of two ways (or both). One, you’re digging out your favorite holiday music so you can get into the Christmas spirit. Two, you’re already anxious about everything your church needs to do to get ready.
The Christmas season provides a unique opportunity for your church to connect with people in the community. And social media is one of the greatest tools we have to promote what’s happening in the life of our church.
How can you leverage the power of social media to build new relationships in your community? Here are seven social media ideas you can use right away.
1. Find your elevator pitch
Why should someone come to your Christmas events this year? If you had 15 seconds to answer that question, what would you say?
Come up with a simple elevator pitch. Try it out on a few people who will give you honest feedback and make adjustments until you land on something effective. This short, clear message is the foundation for communicating about Christmas at your church through every channel—stage announcements, bulletins, website, and especially social media.
2. Create engaging graphics
The people you’re trying to reach are scrolling through their social media feeds at an extremely fast pace. That means you have milliseconds to earn someone’s attention and draw them into the content of your post.
Don’t wait till the last minute to develop your Christmas graphics. Knock them out early so you can leverage these graphics on social media and throughout all your communication channels.
Need some help to get you started? With a free trial of Faithlife Proclaim, you’ll get access to an ever-growing collection of 15,000+ motions and stills, countdown timers, stock photography, and media for announcements—including a free Christmas kit.
3. Craft sharable posts
The greatest influence on what we watch, read, attend, or join is a personal recommendation. Social media is a personal recommendation machine. It has become a game-changer in marketing, and it can help your church’s message spread further, faster.
The most effective (and cheapest) way for you to promote your Christmas services on social media is by creating posts for your audience to share with their friends, family, and acquaintances. Here are three thoughts on how to make your posts effective:
- Encourage your audience to share social media posts with their friends as a way of inviting others your church services. You’d be amazed how many more people will share the post simply because they were asked.
- Don’t write these posts for the “connected” person in your church. Instead, write for that person’s “disconnected friend.” People who attend your church probably don’t need to see the church address, website, or service times on your posts. But that information is vital for their disconnected friends, so they have what they need to visit your church.
- Share a video clip from a previous Christmas service—something that gives people a glimpse of what they’ll experience if they attend. A humorous or heartwarming video gives the connected people in your church something they’re proud to share with their friends. It also can help their disconnected friends get an idea of what your church is like.
4. Share stories
One of the most powerful resources in your church is the testimony of a changed life. Is there someone in your church who gave their life to Christ during a past Christmas service? Was someone invited by a friend and came for the first time around Christmas?
Share those stories with your church on social media. These can be as simple as creating a social media post with a short quote and the person’s picture. The stories that you share could be the most memorable thing you do to cast the vision of why Christmas matters for outreach.
5. Recruit your congregation
The average person who attends your church might come only 8–10 times a year. But the average person your church is trying to reach spends 116 minutes a day on social media.
What would happen if you encouraged your congregation to use social media as a digital mission field? This could look like:
- Inviting friends and family to church
- Posting highlights from the worship service, such as an insight or quote that stood out
- Sharing a brief version of their testimony
Last year, after our church held its first Christmas service of the season, we asked people to share their experience on social media. We were blown away by how many new people came to later services that day, after seeing what their friends posted.
6. Make videos
Video is one of the most effective ways to catch people’s attention on social media. Here are a few ideas you could use:
Does your church have a strong worship ministry? Create a music video of a Christmas song, add a graphic with the service times for Christmas, and share it on social media. At our church, we had two Christmas music videos get over 20,000 views.
Do a Facebook Live video with your pastor or a few staff people sharing a devotional thought. Choose Bible passages related to Advent or the Christmas story.
Create a promotional video specifically for first-time guests at your church this Christmas. This content is the type of post that many of the connected people in your church would love to share with their friends.
7. Start the countdown
Build momentum in the weeks leading up to your Christmas service by doing a countdown on social media. Share behind-the-scenes photos of how your
church is preparing, or show glimpses of what people will experience when they attend. If you need a free resource for creating countdown graphics, check out canva.com.
As leaders in the church, we can treat social media as a distraction or we can leverage it as an opportunity to pursue our calling.
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus calls us to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” As the Church, we have been entrusted a life-changing message—and God has given us new opportunities to proclaim that message through the power of social media.
This is a time to dream and innovate—to rethink communication in the church so we can reach more people with the gospel.
Phil Bowdle serves as the creative arts pastor at West Ridge Church in Northwest Atlanta. He also speaks, consults, and coaches churches on their communication strategy. Phil’s new book, Rethink Communication: A Playbook to Clarify and Communicate Everything in Your Church, has become a number-one best seller in the “church growth” category on Amazon.com.
This article has been adapted from the original that appeared in the November 2019 issue of Ministry Team magazine.