INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background of the Study. Social media offers much more space for congregations to actively engage with sermons by tweeting along, asking questions, sharing photos of church activities, or continuing discussions throughout the week, not just on Sundays. For example, between 2010 and 2015, the Big Bible Project hosted online conversations about the bible for local reading groups and encouraged people to share digital case studies of personal experiences. More experimental parts of the church have held online services and used streaming to reach people who cannot be there in person.
As well as becoming part of church practice, social media is taking church activities back out into the online world. Faith is a full—time activity and social media is part of our everyday lives, so it is not surprising that the two can overlap. For example, church members can use Twitter to share insights from the bible or stories of their lives within the organization, but they can also bring their Christian viewpoint to discussions on local, national and international politics.
Social media is also helping to open up and humanize the church. The distance and anonymity created between people when they communicate online can help ns in a way that is often blamed for abusive behaviour. But it can also encourage people to become comfortable enough to ask questions about faith, especially via private messaging.
The humorous nature of many social media posts can also act as a starting point for more serious discussions about religion.
There are many opportunities to experiment with simple, inexpensive ideas. Facebook groups can give clear social and connection value, especially for those in their 20s and 30s and parent/toddler groups. Churches have used photo and video sites such as instagram and Vine to see what is going on inside their buildings. They have even also created geocaches- markers on online maps as part of an international orienteering movement — in their grounds to encourage people to visit. As Smith says: “There is no limit other than our imaginations in how we might use these new communication opportunities to reach people.”
With about a third of the actual world online or engaged in social media, it is necessary that the church, which is in the business of communication, makes sure its message is accurately represented there. But the task is not as easy as starting a new profile page since there are certain problems that must be addressed as we communicate.
Churches embracing social media have found it to be a viable method of expanding their church community and outreach into the virtual and physical worlds. Churches that are successful with social media use it for communicating with current members and reaching out to new ones.