FaithBook: Churches Use Facebook To Develop Online Congregations
While church-focused Facebook applications have been around for years, now real-life churches across the country are spreading their messages online, giving more people access to worship services and helping the churches reach a broader number of people.
A recent article by the Associated Press highlighted several churches that have increased their online presence, with several churches embracing Facebook as an effective way to reach people. These churches offer everything from video clips to live comments during online services, and Facebook users are definitely taking advantage of their offerings.
LifeChurch.TV has established a large following on its fan page, with almost 12,500 followers checking in to view the extensive list of videos, find out about upcoming events, and take part in faith-based discussions. Their presence on Facebook and other online outlets is matched by big numbers in the actual pews, as LifeChurch.TV is much more than just a virtual congregation — the church operates more than a dozen locations from Arizona to Albany.
The Central Christian Church is another online congregation utilizing Facebook to connect with more people. It uses Connect to allow Facebook users to participate in conversation during a number of online services it offers each week. Developed by Media Social, the media player features comments and the ability to update your status, as well as tabs for “Live Help” and “Live Prayer.”
It’s also important to note that some companies have been busy using Facebook for faith, for years. Perhaps the best example is MyChurch, which first started developing simple church applications in 2007, and now offers a full web site that uses Facebook Connect to help connect people around real-life churches. The company was also an FB Fund winner this past summer.
Having an online following has been beneficial to both the churches and those who frequent their pages and sites. Many people may not have the time or access to a traditional church, and online communities such as Facebook are designed to develop social groups with similar interests, or in this case, beliefs. These communities allow the churches to spread their word further, offer services at hours that may not be practical for brick and mortar establishments, and develop a volunteer network to further grow the congregation.