A guest post from Thomas Billings, Jr., a member of the turnaround pastor advisory board, and a TAP Coach.  — Gary Westra, TAP Inc.

Time-Life Magazine named the Gutenberg Printing Press as the greatest invention of the 2nd Millennium.  It radically altered the projection of history after its introduction to the world.  A similar shift may be taking place today regarding the Social Media Revolution.  Let’s look at some of these parallels.

The balance of power is shifting from the institution to the individual.  Five hundred years ago, the church and monarchs lost control of their message with the introduction of the Gutenberg Printing Press.  In less than a hundred years, “unauthorized” individuals were writing theology and critiquing monarchies.  Institutions no longer controlled their message.

Today, it matters more what others are saying about you rather than what you say about yourself!  One reason churches are struggling today is because they have beliefs about themselves that others do not share.  Churches no longer have the power to strictly control their message.  The power belongs to the people.  What do people say about your church?

A better way to use Social Media: share stories of life transformation that are directly involved with your church ministry.  These stories become your “narrative” and what people will say about your church. 

Individuals have a powerful voice.  By the early 1600s, newspapers emerged.  Before this time, communication came from the monarchy, the church, or the one wealthy family who could afford to communicate on a large scale.  With the introduction of the Gutenberg Printing Press, the common man began to have a voice.  They critiqued policies from their monarchs, theology they did not agree with, and more.  The newspaper allowed them to share their powerful voice and thoughts.

Today, anyone can influence politics and the church through Social Media.  People no longer go to church to get the majority of their beliefs and thinking shaped.  Now they are engaging thinkers seven days a week, shaping their thinking and faith in as little as 140 characters.  These thinkers no longer need a publisher to print their thoughts.  Their thoughts are there on the Internet for people to discover and interact with.  Do you know whose voice your congregation is listening to?

A better way to use Social Media: invite people to interact and connect with your church’s Social Media platforms.  This makes your church more relational and humanizes the church.  But remember you must be responsive to be people’s interaction.

Make sure to come back tomorrow for The Social Media Revolution & the Church – Part Two.  We will be discussing the shift of power and the explosion of knowledge.