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2014 Church and Social Media Year In Review, Part 1

Best of 2014

Can you believe that 2014 is almost over? Yes, we just have a few more days until the start of a brand New Year! 2014 has flown by like a jet plane. However, it has truly been an exciting and eventful year in Church and Social Media.

FAITH BASED MEDIA 2.0 continues to tell the fascinating story of how today’s churches are using the latest technology and social media to share the Gospel. Here are some of the top #churchsocialmedia stories shared online via social media over the past twelve (12) months.

4 Ways to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Count – Relevant

10 Apps to Grab for Your New Smartphone or Tablet – Spiritual Living, Christian Faith/ crosswalk.com

10 Best Religious Personal Finance Blogs – Shared via @ChristianPF

10 Social Media Tools That Make Everything Easier – Chris C. Ducker

11 Imaginative Ways to Use Social Media for Your Church – Steve Fogg

20 Great Ways to Use Instagram at Your Church – TheCreativePastor.com

20 Tips to Tap Into Your Divine ‘Instinct’ for Business Success: T. D. Jakes – blackenterprise.com

21 Of the Best Social Media Articles This Year – SocialMediaToday

31 Days of Thanks – Our Daily Bread

49 Church Blogging Tips – Dave Hakes/ Internet Toolbox for Churches

55 of the Best Church Website Designs – Vandelay Design

100 Years of Glorious History From the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference – Huffington Post Religion

Stay tuned for ‘2014 Church and Social Media Year In Review, Part 2’ where we’ll share more of the top #churchsocialmedia events and stories of 2014!

What were your top #churchsocialmedia stories of 2014?

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

Be Blessed

Kenneth Lillard

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Instagram and Ministry – Telling the Story

New Life Church Celebration Weekend (above) on Webstagram

In the African American preaching tradition, “telling the story” is highly prized. Storytelling is very powerful. It captures the imagination and connects with people on a deep emotional level like no other approach can. Instagram provides a new and exciting way to connect with others online and tell the story of Jesus, and of your congregation in action, in a fresh and innovative fashion. It’s, virtually, a new way to visually share the Word!

A photograph can tell a story in ways words often cannot express. After all, “a picture is worth a thousand word.” People naturally connect with stories, and sometimes those stories are most eloquently told in pictures.

Because of digital social media and the ubiquity of web 2.0 technologies, the church is becoming increasingly more interactive. Many congregation members are already on Instagram, as well as Facebook and Twitter. And more often than not, they are connecting via smartphones, iPad’s, and other mobile devices.

Rapidly rising visual social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest are part of a new trend influenced by the shifting habits of technology users. They are moving toward greater visual social sharing. Why? Social engagement appears to increase when pictures are shared. In our fast paced digital age, pictures (with minimal hashtags and/or captions) can communicate lots of information quickly and succintly.

So, what is Instagram anyway? It is a free photo-sharing service, and social networking site launched in 2010. In 2011  Apple named Instagram, “App of the Year”!  In a nutshell, Instagram allows users to take photos, apply filters to them, and then share them with other Instagram users, as well as on other social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. It currently has over 100 million users.

Something surprising happened in August 2012. The average number of daily active Instagram users hit 7.3 million, topping Twitter’s 6.9 million. Pictures beat words! In addition, the average Instagram user spent 257 minutes accessing the photo-sharing site by mobile device in August, as compared to the average Twitter user who spent 170 minutes on that site during the same time period. Instagram has taken storytelling to mobile devices in a really big way!

So, how can the church tap into this remarkable social media phenomenon known as Instagram to help tell its story? The following are just a few examples:

  • “Instagram” church services by posting pictures on FB, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
  • Post pictures of baptisms, gospel concerts, and conferences. Behind the scenes glimpses at conferences and other special events are always interesting.
  • Use Instagram to creatively market your church.
  • Post pictures of small group activities.
  • Post pictures of volunteers engaged in community service  and other outreach projects.
  • Post pictures of mission trips.

For greater impact, help boost your Instagram pictures with these tips:

  • Try to get the best, most compelling original photos you possibly can.
  • Make sure you photo captures the essence of the story you’re telling.
  • Pull multiple images together in a collage using apps like Frametastic and PicFrame.
  • Deft use of hashtags and captions in picture descriptions can create compelling themes and tags to reinforce the story’s message.
  • Use apps like Hipstamatic, Camera+ and iPhoto to add additional pop to your pictures.
  • Finally, it’s the quality of your photos that matter most, not the quantity!

For more on Instagram and it’s many applications to ministry checkout  the following links:

How are you using Instagram to tell the story?

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

Be Blessed

Kenneth Lillard

 

 

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Digital Church Sunday – A Story

Woke up early Sunday morning. The sun was shining golden on the newly fallen snow. Decided to accept an invitation to visit a highly recommended new church. From my smart mobile phone I accessed the church’s website.  Got service times. 10:00 AM: that’s my service. Googled directions. Arrived, no prob. Friendly greeting at the door. Music ministry was incredible. Followed scripture reading, Luke 24:13-27, on my smart phone Bible app YouVersion http://www.youversion.com .  Great message delivered with passion and conviction by Priscilla Shirer, Tony Evan’s daughter http://www.goingbeyond.com/. “Don’t Miss Jesus“.  Took notes on phone’s memo app. Grabbed additional commentary on Bible Gateway http://www.biblegateway.com .  Exchanged greetings with congregants after the service. While digital tools enhanced my worship experience today, the true enhancer of the experience was none other than Jesus, himself! And my fellow congregants.  No question. Tonight, moonlight dances on the snow.  Myron Butler kicks “Stronger” on the gospel radio app.  I’ve just composed  an appreciation email to today’s preacher. Send!

Remember, you can do all things through Christ Jesus!

God Bless

Kenneth Lillard

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