Part 2 of a guest post by Thomas Billings, Jr., a member of the advisory board of TAP, Inc. and a TAP Coach.  — Gary Westra, TAP Inc.

In yesterday’s post, we looked at the parallels of Social Media and the Gutenberg Printing Press.  Today, we will examine the shift of power from a position of leadership to an ability to influence, and the explosion of knowledge.  We will give you some social media strategies you can implement in your church to make the most of these changes in our culture.

Social MediaPower no longer resides in the position of leadership, but the ability to influence.  Historically, leaders were born into position or were able to buy their way into positions of leadership.

Today, the role of leadership is shifting.  People are less concerned with your position.  They want to know you have something important to say.  In economic terms, they want to know what their Return on Investment will be if they follow you.  Do you have the influence to stir, move, and direct them to reach something they could not on their own? Do you limit mistakes and maximize opportunities?  If not, there are plenty of people who will use their influence to lead them away.  How influential are you on your congregation?

A better way to use Social Media: seek ways to gain influence by better understanding how to leverage your Social Media platforms.  Ask questions, respond to inquiries, post pictures, follow other people, be consistent, post a 90 second clip from last week’s sermon, like people’s comments, and more.

The explosion and availability of knowledge: the Information Age.  When the Gutenberg Printing Press arrived, knowledge and education became more accessible and cheaper.  Imagine for the first time reading the Bible in your own language and then being able to share your own thoughts.  Imagine reading a paper by Martin Luther, unbound by the controlled dogma of the church.  The Gutenberg Printing Press was able to print these faster than the church or monarchies could respond.

Today, knowledge and information continues to be more accessible than ever.  Ten year olds are able to learn from esteemed college professors and amateur scientists.  They are no longer bound by the quality of the classroom teacher, unlike previous generations. Likewise, our collective social conscious has exploded. Social Media has given topics like sex trade and clean drinking water greater levels of awareness.  Also, it is no longer as important to memorize as it is to know how to find things.  Since knowledge is readily available to anyone, wisdom (applying that knowledge) becomes that much more important.  Does your community look to your church as a place to find wisdom for their growing, complex lives? 

A better way to use Social Media: have a plan to help your congregation wisely understand how to interact with the world and apply the wisdom of the Bible beyond the dogma of your denomination and political affiliations. 

Some broad thoughts to shape your activity on Social Media:

Social Media…

  • Is a tool to interact with others.
  • Is an extension of oneself in today’s world.
  • Is an intentional medium to communicate and connect; have a plan.
  • Is something to do often and consistently.
  • Will help facilitate relationships; facilitate conversation and listen.