I get asked frequently what the benefits of Facebook are for churches. Usually I have several answers but one of my favourites is a church Facebook group. Our church has a secret group that only attendees of the church have access to. No one outside the group can ever see any of the posts or comments made. This is valuable for a number of reasons.
Probably the most common type of post is information about announcements. This is very handy in that reminders or changes can be posted and it is received by a large number of active members of the group. It cuts down the number of people that need to be called. What’s handy is that Facebook will tell you the exact people that have seen the post. Since the default setting for the group is to get notified of posts or comments the group member will also get an email sent which increases the reach of the post.
This is really handy. Prayer requests are often posted and it helps keep people up-to-date about answered prayer or any new requests. I especially like that if someone posts a request I can stop and pray about it right at that moment. Often the requests are time sensitive such as a person going in for surgery.
A Facebook group is a wonderful tool to encourage others. If someone does well at something in the church, mention it on the group and let others give feedback. Share a verse that has meant something to you. Use it to build one another up. There’s endless possibilities here. One thing I have enjoyed is when people share thoughts or convictions about what they have learned from the speakers or Bible studies at the church. It helps each other to grow together.
As with any tool that allows for public sharing, great care is needed that everything is done with love. Elders should still shepherd in this area to make sure that gossip, arguments and negative comments are kept out of the group. We have had our Facebook group active for well over a year and have never seen this kind of problem, but I recognize it can exist if we are not careful.
If you would like more information on starting a Facebook group email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.