Remember how excited you got in elementary school when it was Show and Tell Day? A day dedicated to seeing, maybe even touching, special objects brought by your friends and learning more about them instead of sitting quietly in class. You got to see the objects up close and really understand them. It is always more exciting to learn by experiencing something rather than passively learning by being told.
This concept can be applied to social media. So many ministries treat social media like a quiet day in the classroom, passively telling rather than actively showing who and what they are. While there is nothing wrong with telling, it must be secondary to showing — after all it isn’t “tell and show.”
Below are some ideas for how your ministry can create active “show and tell” social media that allows people to experience all aspects of your community.
Show your people
One of the most important things that you should “show and tell” about on social media is the people that make up your ministry. Show your pastor, ministers, staff and especially your members. Getting to see and know the people that make up a ministry makes it feel more personable to both visitors who are overwhelmed by a sea of new faces and non-members who might find your ministry online and know nothing about it.
You can showcase people on social media in a variety of ways. The most important thing is to be creative! Here are some ideas:
Take short videos of your ministers and staff members introducing themselves and sharing what they do. Post one video each week.
Take photos every Sunday of your members worshiping, praying, studying and fellowshipping together. Share them during the week to add content between your live stream services.
Ask to take photos of new members who join your church or ministry. Highlight them and share a little about who they are and why they joined (with their permission).
Invite your long-time members to share their testimony, how they came to be involved in your ministry and why they encourage others to join (this could be in video or text format).
Want to see an example of a ministry that is actively and consistently showing people on social media? Check out Longhorn BSM on Instagram. To scroll through their feed is to experience their ministry!
Tell about the Word
Don’t forget to use social media as a tool to share the gospel. You might already be doing this by sharing Sunday morning live streams or weekly devotional content, but think outside the box and find different ways to communicate this information in bite-size chunks. Remember, your online audience is inundated with messages every time they open their app. They are more likely to stop scrolling and pay attention to your message if it is concise and visually appealing.
Here are some ideas for showcasing the Word on social media in accessible ways:
Take a strong clip from a Sunday morning sermon recording (or any recorded devotional content) and repurpose it as a separate Facebook video or Instagram reel. Consider overlaying text on the video that shows what is being said since around 85% of mobile viewers watch videos on mute. Click here for an example from Hunters Glen Baptist Church.
Share Bible verse graphics mid-week, and specifically share the passage of scripture your pastor or director will be speaking on that week. Consider also sharing discussion questions or a sermon notes template as resources for your audience.
Wondering how to create multimedia content? Check out DaVinci Resolve, a free professional video editing software with several tutorials available, and visit Canva for Nonprofits to register for premium graphic design features free of charge.
Show (don’t just promote) your events
The majority of ministries and churches regularly promote their events with graphics on social media. In fact, event promotion graphics are often the only other type of post made in addition to Sunday morning live streams. Churches are great at promoting their events, but they often forget to document and show those events once they happen.
Be intentional about taking photos at the events that your church or ministry puts on, and consider using those photos to promote the same event in the future. Your audience is much more likely to engage with photos of faces over graphics with text. Instead of telling people to come to your events through graphics, show them why they want to be there through photos.
Here is an example of how Aggie BSM did this on their Instagram.
Tell people what they need to know
Sunday morning live streams, staff features, event promotions, Bible verse graphics — so many of these posts are great ways to communicate information and personalize your ministry, but will they actually get people to walk through the church door? The reality is, guests have a host of anxieties when it comes to stepping out from behind the screen and entering the church, especially in the post-COVID world.
Use your social media presence to address those anxieties and provide answers to important questions that visitors might have. Doing so could make all the difference in converting someone from a passive online attendant to an active in-person one.
Check out this list of 17 Questions First-Time Guests Are Asking. Social media and marketing specialist Brandi Jones with WMU of Texas has thought proactively about these questions so that your ministry can answer them online.
Show the impact of ministry
At the end of the day, what do people really want out of a church or ministry? They want to know that they are a part of the Body of Christ, working to make real changes in the hearts of other members, in their community and even in the world. They want to see the Kingdom impact of their membership.
As often as you can, find ways to show the tangible effects God is creating through your church or ministry. This can include local or international missions, community involvement, professions of faith, baptisms, fellowship and so many other things.
Here are three examples of ministries and churches showing their impact:
Cliff Temple Baptist Church hosting a Souper Sunday food drive for their community
University of Houston BSM serving and connecting with international students by providing free home goods
Texas Baptist Men volunteers serving in Colorado following the Marshall fire
For more help, email meredith.rose[at]texasbaptists.org to request a social media consultation for your church or ministry.