Episode 263

Church Plans Pregnancy Home for Unwed Teens & Social Media Shifts Churches Should Know

Jan 5, 2023

Pastor Landon Dowden at Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, Ga., knew his church was blessed to be completely debt free with nearly 100 acres that could be used for his ministry. And, The internet is changing again. And that is bad news for the churches that are already lagging behind on social media platforms, according to Austin Gravely and Ian Harber.

Transcript

Pastor Landon Dowden at Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, Ga., knew his church was blessed to be completely debt free with nearly 100 acres that could be used for his ministry.

As he led the church to pray through what they may do with the land, the congregation landed on the idea of creating a shelter for single women who were pregnant.

Dowden said despite being near Atlanta, they discovered there was not shelter within hundreds of miles that was open to receive women who were under 18.

The Haven will allow for any woman at any stage of their pregnancy until eight weeks post-partum. Under Georgia law, the women cannot stay at the home past eight weeks after giving birth.

Dowden told Baptist Press, “The Lord has blessed us with property and we are in a highly populated area, and there’s a need for a ministry like this. Our folks couldn’t be more excited. We want to be a blessing.”
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The internet is changing again. And that is bad news for the churches that are already lagging behind on social media platforms, according to Austin Gravely and Ian Harber. They say this gives churches an opportunity to leapfrog the era that is going by the wayside and start engaging a medium that has drastically influenced our culture (and our pews) more than we may have imagined.

In a piece on Baptist Press, they offer four tips for engaging on social media.

From social-media-as-newspaper to social-media-as-television station

The first wave of social media was text and photo-driven, much like newspapers. Now, the internet is making a wholesale shift to video, specifically short-form video, requiring production skills more common in television stations than church offices.

A shift from geography-driven to geography-neutral

They say Social media is becoming a global-reach-only system. How do you reach locally? They encourage churches to turn to email. They say the email list is more important now than ever.

They write, “Double down on your efforts to grow your email list. Regularly encourage your people to read the emails. These are useful opportunities for ministering to the church’s specific season and also inviting people into in-person discipleship and community opportunities.”

A shift from brand to influencer

They say, “Most people will see a church’s online presence the same way they see brands. They aren’t personal. They are self-serving, focusing primarily on pushing out church events and information, not helping or engaging the social media consumer. People are going to look for and care about your church online less and less. They don’t go to the internet to find a brand; they go to the internet to find a person.”

A shift from information to identity

They say online consumers are getting information from the groups of tribes where they identify or resonate.

They write, “It does not mean people have stopped using social media for information, but they seek that information through shared identities first and reliable sources of a fact-finding second.”

Read the full piece and sign up for our daily emails at Baptist Press.com.

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