By Jen Miles and Jason Morris
When you think about helping people grow spiritually, Bible engagement and discipleship are probably at the top of your list. What if your congregation engaged with the Bible in meaningful ways every day?
Today’s social media apps allow that kind of daily engagement with Scripture—and they help pastors interact with church members throughout the week. Here’s a simple strategy that can help your congregation connect, engage, and go deeper in Bible study and discipleship.
Find a platform that works for your church
Social media is everywhere today—and many churches use it for announcements and basic communication. But every church also should have an online place where members can interact over Bible readings and prayer requests.
There are plenty of options to choose from: a Facebook or Faithlife group, a hashtag on Instagram or Twitter, or an email distribution list.
Choosing the right platform depends on where your congregation hangs out online. Younger people tend to be on Instagram. Senior members tend to prefer Facebook or email. For more privacy and functionality, some churches are turning to platforms designed especially for churches, such as Faithlife.
Post a daily Bible reading plan for your congregation weekly
Whichever platform you use, use a daily Bible reading plan to get the whole church studying the Bible together. Here are simple steps to facilitate a churchwide reading plan.
1. Map out daily readings for the week. (You can also build a monthly plan.) For tools that help create reading plans, see the previous page.
2. At least two days before the first reading, post the reading plan for the entire week ahead. If you’re using Twitter or Instagram, be sure to create a hashtag for people to follow.
3. Post something daily to encourage people to read. It helps if you do something slightly different each day. Here are some examples:
- Ask specific questions about the reading. (People tend not to respond if you ask general questions, such as “What did you like best?”)
- Post a verse or passage and ask how people apply it in their lives.
- Ask what the reading teaches us about God (or Jesus, or the Holy Spirit). What does it say about people?
- Post one thing that takes the reading deeper, such as the meaning of a Hebrew or Greek word or a cultural concept from the biblical world
- Create an anonymous poll. Include questions like: How many days did you read this week? Where do you get your reading done? What time of day works for your reading? You can even ask a Bible trivia question related to the week’s reading.
- Post prayer suggestions that tie in with the reading.
4. Create a separate social media group for teachers and leaders.
Whether your church has Sunday school classes or home groups, a separate social media channel gives teachers and leaders a chance to dialogue with each other and ask questions about the readings. It also lets you provide resources to help classes and groups dig deeper into the Bible readings. Here are some ideas:
- Post discussion questions that connect the reading with the upcoming sermon (or the previous Sunday’s sermon).
- Post related Scripture passages that help shed light on the week’s readings.
- Share links to cultural concepts or Hebrew/Greek words that factor into the week’s readings.
People prioritize the things they hear and see most often. Make Bible reading part of your church’s culture—from the stage, in the Sunday bulletin, on your website, around your campus, and in your social media channels. The easier you make it for people to open their Bibles, the more likely they will.
This post has been adapted from the original post by Jen Miles and Jason Morris in the January 2019 edition of Ministry Team magazine.