At first it was the radio. Then it was the television. Now, the Internet and social media are the new frontiers of Christian ministry.
The goal of ministry is to reach both Christians and non-Christians where they are. And increasingly where they are is online. That’s why the use of social media is becoming more prevalent throughout Christendom.
“Any strategy aimed at maximizing your ministry’s reach should include having a presence in every social media space where your audience spends time and finds community,” said MediaforMinstry.org, which offers tips to ministries to boost their online presence.
Not only do these sites allow for ministries to promote themselves, but it also allows them to organize and promote events and to encourage community and dialogue.
“The role of social media in the modern church is to take the message of Jesus Christ preached in our pulpits, that reaches a limited amount of people, to an individual’s phone, tablet or computer that can be shared repeatedly, reaching millions,” said Corey Phillips, social media director of the Church of God in Christ’s International Auxiliaries in Ministry Convention, which is being held in Baltimore, Md., this year.
“Social media is crucial to the success of the church,” he added. “The church now has something the Apostle Paul probably wished he had and that is quick, efficient and effective ways to access all parts of the world spreading the Good News.
“Social media has allowed the modern church to break cultural, religious, political and geographic barriers we were once limited to.”
Under the leadership of its newly-minted chairman, Superintendent Linwood Dillard, AIM, this year, is taking full advantage of these online ministry tools. It has an active presence on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, SocialCam and Instagram. It was a challenge that Phillips, who has held his position for a mere two-and-a-half months, was happy to take on.
“Creating the initial buzz for all our social media outlets was the most challenging [task]. In social media it is all about capturing the attention and giving the audience a reason to follow and share our sites in a very short window,” he said.
“With every major challenge [however] comes great reward: We were able to create that buzz, and in a month, we doubled our FB likes, tripled our Twitter following and have seen major increase in Instagram and SocialCam which will play a more involved role during the AIM Convention.”
Interested persons can just enter #iLOVEAIM into their social media search engines starting June 27 to find convention information, updates and photos and share their AIM experience.
AIM also launched a convention application for smartphones, available from iTunes and Google’s Play store. The app allows users to register for the conference online, watch live streams of the services, consult the itinerary and add events to their device’s calendar, meet convention members online and find restaurants and other businesses in Baltimore, where the conference in being held.
“Awesome application. Hats off to Presiding Bishop [Charles E. Blake] for his wisdom in connecting [us] to modern times. How incredible,” said Susie Thompson, a Play Store customer, in her posted review on May 30.
Byron Stevenson called it “one of the best and most comprehensive on the market.” said Phillips, “We [wanted] to give those attending and not attending the opportunity to know firsthand what is happening around the grounds of the convention. Every service, class, and personal experience will be captured for those to share….
“This is a family affair and we want all to feel that this is their AIM through social media.”