Church, Manchester, Faith, Punk

Social Media

9 Twitter tips for church leaders

For reasons you cannot understand you feel compelled to plant a church.

So you move to a new town, city, village, country or planet to start your brand new church and you decide it’s time to drag your sorry ass into the 21st century and use that Social Media thing your mum told you about. You sign up to twitter and start slamming out Spurgeon quotes. Stop. Stop right now.

How should church planters and church leaders use twitter most effectively? Let me tell you.

1. Understand what twitter is and what it is not.

Twitter is like a loud pub. Music is playing. There is fight in the corner. Someone is definitely drunk.

Imagine you are in this pub. You sit with a group of friends and you discuss the issues of the day, your interests, your hobbys, your successes and your failures. Your friends respond, comment, console, provoke, laugh at you and laugh with you. Sounds like a normal night out. Right?

Then a new guy wanders into the pub. He sits at your table and then starts shouting quotes at you. Weird.

Another guy walks in. He sits at your table. This guy has a book to sell. He spends the evening repeating the nice things people have said about his book and ignoring the rest of the pub. Everybody moves to a different table.

Twitter is a community. It is a place to hang with people you already know and make brand new friends.

2.Follow people in your city

When I moved to Manchester I follow marketing firms, designers, bloggers, journalists, promoters, writers, local politicians and leading business types. I got a quick inside track on the culture of Manchester.

3. Tweet people

Get into conversation. Simple really. There are people in my church that I met on twitter.

The best part of twitter is when someone new responds to a tweet and you meet someone completely new. The world just got a tiny bit smaller.

4. Don’t just tweet quotes

A few quotes are OK but if you fill my twitter feed with quotes and retweets (RTs) of other peoples quotes then I am going to unfollow you. If you just tweet Piper, Driscoll and Spurgeon quotes it does make you seem a little narrow minded. Tweet your interests outside of church stuff.

5. Work at it

Longevity is the key. Keep checking your followers and follow back the people you are interested in. It’s also worth glancing at who they follow or are followed by.

6. Watch your tone

Rick Warren says “Arguing with people on the internet is like a wrestling a pig. Everyone gets covered in mud and only the pig likes it”. I honestly don’t bother seriously debating or arguing on twitter. It has no nuance or subtlety and you often end up looking ridiculous.

Twitter is largely a liberal place (certainly in the UK) and so I think very carefully about what I tweet or retweet. If I  hold a particularly counter cultural opinion then I want to be able to explain it to people clearly, compassionately and I want to hear their opinion. That is not easy on twitter.

7. Don’t tweet angry

Just don’t. Trust me.

8. Don’t retweet compliments

It is hard to explain how vain this looks. Instant unfollow.

9. Enjoy Twitter

You will find plenty of people like you and you will find people who are completely different to you.

@tsimmonds