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By Rev. Tori Mullin, Growth Animator for Eastern Ontario and Quebec

This week I attended a fantastic webinar put on by The Presbyterian Outlook in the USA, exploring digital discipleship and specifically how we can use social media as faith communities. Perhaps your church has struggled to know whether you should be on TikTok, Instagram or Facebook. You might have an old Twitter (now called X) account lying dormant out there on the web. The question we grappled with was, how can we create a social media strategy for our communities that doesn’t feel like a burden, and instead is a natural extension of our shared life of faith?

Listening to expert communicators who connect with audiences on many different platforms I learned some new and surprising things. Learnings I want the whole church to know!

Social media can serve multiple purposes, but always comes back to relationship.

Platforms like TikTok or Facebook allow us to do digital outreach. We can use these tools like bulletin boards to share information with our audiences. More and more websites are becoming static places that drive traffic to our social media accounts where we provide on-going updates about the life and work of our church, inviting the wider community to participate in events and activities. The goal of this type of communication is invitation.

They are also places for evangelism, sharing the Good News with others. By speaking up during moments of tragedy or injustice we can convey messages of hope. By sharing out Christian narrative with others we can combat harmful theologies and misconceptions. Authenticity and bravery are required to do this well, owning our faithful witness despite potential backlash. Check out Rev. Bethany Peerbolte on TikTok, who shares boldly her message of God’s love for 2SLGBT+ people.

Social media is also an extension of our community care. We don’t want out content to be a one-way conversation, instead inviting those within and outside our faith community into deeper conversation. Groups, forums and Discord servers can be fantastic places where your in-person community can gather online. Continue the conversation from worship with a question for folks to comment on, or invite the sharing of favourite songs or photos that speak to the theme for the week.

You don’t need to be everywhere!

The biggest piece of advice for the tired minister or church administrator is that your church doesn’t need to be on every platform. By making a communications plan as a community of faith you can identify who you’re hoping to reach and where they are online. There are lots of resources that show us the breakdown of demographics on different platforms. Go where your people, or the people you want to reach, are! Providing consistent and clear communication on one or two platforms will garner better results than overwhelming your team with too many responsibilities.

Ensure church social media personality aligns with the church’s genuine voice and values.

Part of authenticity is being yourself. We want the personality that comes across online to be consistent with the personality of the community of faith. Start by focusing on the things your community cares about. Are you passionate about your music program, or your church garden? Share a video of your choir anthem from that Sunday or photos of the blooming flowers.  Are your services more reflective or do you bring a lot of holy humour to your gatherings? Use that tone of voice when putting together your content. We want to attract folks to our community for who we are and what we stand for, and we want our community members to see their experience reflected in our online presence. Remember, our social media presence is an extension of our ministry, we want that extension to feel as natural as possible.


Hopefully these quick tips can help you think deeper about your community of faith’s online presence. If you’d like to talk further about how you can use social media for outreach, evangelism and community care, or would like some recommendations for free tools, please send me an e-mail at tmullin@united-church.ca or schedule a call at https://calendly.com/talk-tori/30min.