Mar 24, 2011

5 Ways to Use Twitter for Ministry

        Twitter is a great tool for finding out what is happening right now, but did you know that it can help you in ministry? I am not suggesting that leaders need to jump on every fad and technological wonder that comes along. We do not have to be hip, trendy, or have our finger on the pulse to bring Christ's love to a modern world. As long as people are in sin the Gospel will be relevant. With that being said here are 5 ways that Twitter can benefit your ministry.

        1. Speak into people's lives
         John Maxwell has said, "Leadership is influence." Think about that statement. Abraham, Moses, and Jesus were never crowned earthly kings or elected to public office, yet they lead and people followed. Maybe you tried Twitter out and you had 30 or even 100 followers.  One cannot assume that saying insightful things will automatically lead to a massive following, yet if no one is following we are not leading.
        I use a free service called Tweepi. In Tweepi I can follow the followers of people who are saying things similar to me. For me that is people who speak on leadership, youth ministry, and evangelism. Their followers already have a passion for the things I am passionate about. They are likely to follow me as well. I also use Social Oomph to follow back those that follow me and send a heartfelt generic message to new followers.
        What are you waiting for? Expand your following.

        2. Be Mentored
        Do you have someone whose walk and ministry you admire, but do not personally know them?Twitter is a great way to glean from the wisdom, strategies, and encouragement that they have to offer. It also helps us to see the larger than life Christian personalities as real transparent people.

        3. Reach the Hurting
        Jesus spent a great deal of his time on Earth with those that were hurting. Did you know that the search bar in Twitter is not just for finding people? You can search any word or phrase and it will find every recent Tweet with that word or phrase in it. Talk about a missionary opportunity. You can be as specific as you want. Who is using the following phrases right now?--I hate my life, I am hopeless, No one likes me. There are many hopeless and helpless people on Twitter that you can reply to without even following. Wow! What a difference a few purposeful internet evangelists could make.

        4. Be Social but not Unguarded 
        It seems that in a lot of ways Facebook has become the modern Christian's gossip tool of choice. This all takes place under the guise of concern and prayer requests. Twitter is a micro-blogging service. There is a sharing of information, but not too much information. For instance, users only share a brief bio and Tweets are limited to 140 characters (120 if you want anyone to retweet what you have to say). You can Tweet from your phone or computer without having to get too sucked into the time consuming and at times matchmaking, home-wrecking world of popular social networks (a tip for Facebook: give your spouse your password or share an account).

        5. Get Prayer Quick
        Whether it is for a service or in the wake of a recent death, Twitter can get the prayer ball rolling. A lot of churches have a prayer phone tree. Imagine one that goes around the world. I was recently about to speak at an event when I Tweeted that I needed prayer and was preaching at 2pm. I immediately had a reply on my phone of a man in the U.K. wanting to know what time that would be in the his time zone. I am bad at math so I told him 30 minutes from now. There is also a husband and wife in California that actively pray for my Student Ministry in North Carolina. I have never met them, but they are part of the Body of Christ.

        There are many other reasons to add Twitter to your ministry repertoire, but I hope this list helps you think through your online strategy.


Rachel said...

I'm a big fan of Twitter myself. What I love is how you can connect with God's people across the globe in an instant. I've 'met' wonderful people this way who have been a help to me and I've been able to support others with prayer, kind replies or by just letting them know they're not alone. Also, I very much use Twitter to lead, to try and make a difference, especially for other youth leaders.
Personally, I'm not a fan of the automated messages for new followers. I still write thank-you-for-following-me messages myself and try to make them personal...but then I also check out the site or blog from whomever is following me because I want to get to know them a bit. It's time consuming, yes, but for me it's a good start of truly connecting...

Ivy said...

Oh my goodness yes, to all of the above! Twitter has been such an influence on my ministry. At this point, I think I've gotten more than I've given, but I'm working on that. I have meet so many fellow worship leaders and just amazing Christians I admire and learn from daily.

I agree that Facebook is the new gossip circle. I have been "called out" (I use that term in the sense of used as a starting place to take something out of context and run with it or in some cases just flat out pulling something out of nowhere) on Facebook. I've experienced being the latest piece of gossip in the church we are leaving right now, but beyond that I see so much more on Facebook as far as destructive talk from Christians than on twitter.

Great post!!