Creating A Social Network Around Church

My younger brother is a Brethren Minister in Northeastern Ohio. His primary focus for the past several years has been to plant churches in new areas and bring people to church who are “tired of the idea of church.” I have been to a few of his services, and they are very compelling and non-traditional. The message is usually very personal and relates directly to my brother or one of the people who has joined the church family.

My brother’s church is growing. People feel connected to him and each other on Sunday morning — and during the numerous get-togethers they have throughout the week. The personable way that the message is delivered coupled with the genuine caring that has been fostered in this community has resulted in a committed church.

I had lunch with my brother today, and we discussed the growth and the challenges that he faced as a church leader. I challenged him to think even more differently about how he could continue to engage his community and get his message out to even more people. I can think of no organization that would benefit more from a well done, interactive web presence. I encouraged my brother to start blogging routinely to share his insights with the church. Gather their responses. Foster dialog about beliefs, current events, daily living. The members would invite friends to join in the discussion through sharing of posts, and though there would not necessarily be more butts in seats on Sunday morning, the church and the church’s message would reach a huge number of people.

Just like non-profits are changing their models (think Kiva.org) to engage people with their marketing versus interrupting them asking for money, churches (along with every other people-based venture) need to re-think how they are connecting with their flocks. Are churches keeping current members engaged? Are churches engaging enough to attract new members? Are churches meeting people’s needs and enabling their personal growth on their terms?

If you know of any churches who are doing this kind of stuff well, please let me know.

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