Our churches are turning more and more to reaching their audience through social media, as one facet of their outreach story. There are two audiences which most Christian Science churches want to reach (all living within 30 or 50 miles of their branch church):
You will see below examples of fruitage from existing Facebook campaigns across Georgia and the US which show that we are effectively reaching both groups.
For the first group, most of those experienced at all with Christian Science know how to find out about where branch churches, Reading Rooms, and Sunday Schools are located and get in touch with them. But we’re still finding a few and welcoming them back to church.
For the second group, there are only so many cars which drive by our churches in a week. Discovery of who we are, what we believe, and where we are can be challenging. These folks may need a friendly and warm introduction through social media.
They may need special care in correcting and explaining who we are and what we believe. Individuals in both groups may be ‘athirst in the desert – are waiting and watching for rest and drink.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy pp. 570:14). And both groups can be reached through Facebook.
Facebook enjoys over 2,000,000,000 (two billion!) active Facebook users per month! Just imagine how many regular Facebook users live and/or work within just 30 miles of your branch church right now.
Facebook is the most-widely used of the major social media platforms, and its user base is most broadly representative of the population as a whole. Smaller shares of Americans use sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. Mine-in-ten Millennials own smartphones and significantly larger shares of Millennials embrace the newer platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat.(source: Pew Research Center)
83% of Women and 75% of Men Use Facebook. They Spend an Average of 35 Minutes of Facebook each Day. This is a clear indicator that no matter who you're trying to reach, they're likely active on Facebook. And 400 New Users Sign up for Facebook Every Minute!
Data source for both graphs above: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/facebook-stats-for-marketers/
I recommend a Facebook content and ad campaign, since Facebook will likely reach the most people. I recommend a Twitter or Snapchat cross-posting campaign along with the Facebook posts. I can customize a social media outreach program unique for your organization and within your budget.
Let me here mention something very important to me: In my own daily metaphysical work I pray to see the complete control of Divine Principle, Infinite Love guiding the affairs of God’s remnant – Divinity embracing humanity, and the human yielding to the Divine. That control embraces not only each branch church of The Mother Church, but each field of labor in which that branch resides and is tending.
For me that means that if someone was in need, and receptive, and had no car, and no internet, computer or smartphone, Divine Love can meet that need practically and effectively and guide them to a local branch church or Reading Room.
So, while I am grateful for and enjoy technology and Facebook’s particular method of outreach, I do not rely upon it. I rely on God to, “spread undivided the Science that operates unspent.” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany).
Facebook is just one of the human auxiliaries which plays a useful role in an overall outreach story for a branch church, Sunday School, Reading Room, or nursing facility. The main draws are of course dedicated and consistent prayer and an effective healing ministry, which ‘advertises’ our Church as nothing else can – and for which we’re all striving.
The daily posts consist typically of a portion or a full section of the Weekly Bible Lesson from the Christian Science Quarterly, depending on the sections of the Lesson for that week. Because of that, I work closely with The Mother Church to ensure that my references and footnotes all point back properly to The Mother Church and ChristianScience.com.
I’m also careful to provide all proper references to The Bible and the books within The Bible. If a different Bible is used in the Golden Text and Responsive Reading, I reference that as well.
Each of the daily posts includes an invitation to that branch church’s upcoming service – Sunday or Wednesday – depending on the day of the post.
The Wednesday Evening Meeting invitation post is a standard ‘First Reader’ style announcement from the desk, inviting all to come.
With each post, I speak with the impersonal voice of your First Reader - not my personal voice.
By posting with the voice of your First Reader, I just mean that every comment I may make on your Facebook page will be done impersonally as if coming from the First Reader’s podium, or an Usher at the front door of your church.
I work hard to not speak with my own voice, since all posts will be seen as coming from your particular and unique Christian Science organization – and thus they will be getting to know you and not me.
I make only 1 or 2 posts per day (except Sunday), so as not to overwhelm and cause folks to Unfollow. The types of posts I make each day include:
Moderating these daily posts is very important and I can take care of that for you.
When people subscribe to your Facebook page, they begin to get to know your Christian Science organization through your beautiful and inspiring posts. They will begin to feel like they can comment, ask questions, and even ask for the day/time of your next service.
It’s critical that someone respond…and respond quickly, lovingly, without debate, with much patience. I am here to do that for you and guide them to a service or your Reading Room.
Today, because of my work on the 19 Facebook pages across the State of Georgia and the USA:
These non-Christian Scientists are daily seeing inspiring Bible quotes and posts adjacent to the name of our Christian Science churches.
People are asking questions, and we are responding. They are learning about Christian Science. We are correcting misunderstandings. We are reaching out and finding.
We have seen individuals coming to our lectures from Facebook alone. We have seen people attend church services as a result. And this is just the beginning.
Remember, these comments are by those who are not members of any branch church, but who have found these pages and are beginning to learn about Christian Science and responding to these posts.