Should Your Church Have a Facebook Group?
The short answer is yes: your church should have a Facebook Group. But I’m guessing you’re here for more than just a quick yes or no. You really want to understand the why behind using a Facebook group.
Maybe you’re not even convinced your church should use Facebook. If that’s you, here's a better starting place .
But for those of you who are on Facebook and considering starting a group we have some insight from the Facebook Group gurus over at Church Communications. Their Facebook group of more than 28,000 church leaders has been a smashing success, so they know a thing or two about the how and why. Their 3 reasons why your church should have a Facebook group are: it’s a free space for church communication, it’s an easy space for church communication, and it increases church member communication.
It's A Free Space for Church Communication
Let’s talk about this one as it’s the easiest one to cross off the list. Creating a Facebook Group for your church is completely free. No getting approval for funds or fitting it into an already tight budget. Facebook Groups are also hosted through an established platform so you don't have to route your congregation to a brand new website that is unfamiliar to them. With such a great deal, the real question is how can you not create a Facebook Group? Although the younger generation might be gravitating more toward Instagram, a large majority still have a Facebook account in addition to their Instagram account. This makes Facebook Groups a viable and FREE option for sharing information and creating a communal space for your congregation.
This is as important now as ever, as our world still navigates online church and nearly exclusively digital relationships. People are on Facebook, so it is our job as the church to go where the people are.
It's an Easy Space for Church Promotion
The second reason your church should have a Facebook group is for easy promotion. Sharing articles or posts on Facebook is like a two-click process. It's easy, and people like easy. If your congregation has easy access to blog posts, event announcements, or a sermon link, they're much more likely to share it with their friends who might not yet be a church-goer. It's a lot of work for modern social media users, to go from one website to another website. Unless they really really REALLY like the content, they're probably not going to share.
However, if you provide a link in your Facebook Group to the blogpost on your church's website, not only will that content be easily accessible, but it will pull double duty. It will direct people back to your website. And, getting new viewers to your website is always a good thing.
You can take this one step further! Let’s say you are going Live in your Facebook group to answer questions about a new sermon series. You can send an email, or better yet, a text message inviting everyone on your list to “Join us live in the Facebook group at 1:00pm for sermon discussion!” (also, don’t forget to include the link to your group!)
If you don’t currently have a system to send emails and text messages out to your members and guests, take a look at all the ways Text In Church can save you time and build connections.
It Encourages Church Member Communication
The final and most important reason your church should have a Facebook group is it fosters communication and connection among members. This was talked about briefly, but it warrants expanding upon. One of the main goals of social media marketing is fostering connections with your audience. You want them to feel part of a community; you want them to feel invested in your church. Creating a Facebook Group and cultivating conversation is a great way to prompt that feeling of community. A lot of people like to argue that there’s no way that church online will translate to church in person. But what we’ve seen is that churches who do this well, who show up for people online and love on them in real ways, will often see those people walk through the doors of their church if and when they can. The guard goes down when they get to experience the love and acceptance of this church online. There is an incredible amount of fear in the hearts of non-church goers when it comes to attending church. Allowing people to connect online is a great buffer.
And for your church members, this provides space for them to stay connected during the week, during crises when you can’t meet in person (hello COVID and the winter storm of 2021). There is great value in providing as many spaces as possible for people to stay connected. A Facebook group doesn’t need to replace your community groups or sunday school class or any in-person gathering. There is space for both. Additionally, we see Facebook groups serve as a place where you can encourage people to take a next step and get connected. If you’re a Text In Church user, you could post a cool graphic with your phone number and keyword for new people to text in to get more information. You can have the link to a Digital Connect Card where people can sign up for events, leave their information for follow-up, submit prayer requests, etc. If you want to learn more about how to effectively use digital connect cards, check out this blog post.
Alright, those are some of the logistical benefits of having a Facebook group. Like I said, posts are easy to share. You can cross-promote with other communication channels like email and texting. But even more than that, posts inside of a Facebook group are conversation starters. They are easy to comment on. Conversations happen in the comment sections! And yes, not all comment conversations are positive. However, if you have a moderator who is willing to check those with misguided enthusiasm, then comment conversations can contribute to a great sense of togetherness. They can create connections that evolve into mentorships, small groups, or a person's willingness to take that next step and attend church for the first time.
Facebook Group vs. Facebook Page
If you're reading this and wondering about the different uses of a Facebook Group vs. a Facebook Page, then check out this article by Membership Vision . It'll break down the specific benefits of each, as well as give you even more reason to create a Facebook Group for your church.
To summarize, Facebook Groups are free, create opportunities for easy promotion, and foster community. If you’re looking to see the benefits of a Facebook group in action, check out the Church Communications Facebook Group or the Text In Church Community Facebook Group. You will see the power of collaboration and connection, information sharing, and ease of use as you interact with other church leaders in this group. If these 3 reasons aren’t enough to convince you to create a Facebook Group for your church, then the question remains: why not?