In less than a month it will be Ash Wednesday. The first thing I want to say is to my fellow church workers: breathe, it is going to be ok.
Now, if your church is like mine, you tend to do more during Lent then other times of the year (exempting Advent). And, with all the work you put in, you try really hard to reach your members where they live, in their homes. You also probably want to do some outreach as well to your surrounding community. Social Media is a great way to do both of those things. Here are six ideas to engage your followers during Lent.
There are 40 days in Lent (minus Sundays). Create a 40 day calendar (minus Sundays) and assign a unique word to each day. Also, think up of a theme hashtag for all of Lent. Then, ask your members to post a picture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. that relates to that word and include the hashtags. An example, let’s say that your theme for Lent is The Cross of Christ and your word of the day is #Meditation. Below is something somebody might share.
The beauty of this approach is that you can tie it into whatever your theme might be for Lent. Or, you could use something from the daily lectionary. Or, even famous Lent/Easter hymns. Let your imagination run wild.
*Bonus – create or share a short devotional for each word.
Advertise Your Services
Especially Ash Wednesday and Easter. Around a week before Ash Wednesday my church’s phone will start ringing with people asking if we have an Ash Wednesday Service. Get ahead of the curve by putting a post together advertising your service(s). A great way to do this to is to create an Event on Facebook. You can then advertise the event to specific groups. For more on how to do that, read this great post: Advertising on Facebook for Churches.
*Bonus – ask your followers to share pictures/selfies of them with ashes on their foreheads. This is also a great way to unveil your Lenten Theme hashtag.
Share Your Theme
My church’s theme from two years ago was “The Parables of Lent.” We used a super simple hashtag, #lent. As a part of that we shared a picture every Wednesday previewing the theme, text, and synopsis of that night’s sermon. It looked like this:
It was a kind of teaser that we hoped would pique people’s interest. And, using a website like Canva made them fairly simple to put together.
Share the Sermon
If your pastor has a blog, ask him to put his sermon on it and then share it through social media. I find that many of my people that cannot make a service greatly appreciate being able to read my sermon. This could easily tie-in with the sharing of your theme idea, too. If you already do audio or video of the pastor’s sermon, great! But, many people enjoy being able to read it, too.
Share a Daily Prayer
This might seem like a lot of work, writing a prayer for every day. However, oftentimes the Propers can be used or even split up. There are also a lot of great ideas for prayers out there. The trick is to make it short. Twitter allows 140 characters only, and if you have a hashtag theme there are even less. However, a graphic with the words of a prayer work great.
This seems the opposite of what you might want with Social Media. However, Lent is about focusing on God. Much like “Fish Fridays” pick a day of the week or designate a time and ask congregants to unplug from computers, cell phones, and social media. Encourage your members to spend time in prayer and/or with their families. #nophonedinners #blackoutsaturdays
There are more ways to engage your followers out there during Lent. What are some of the ways your church uses?
For other helpful ideas and topics, visit the CTS Blog Technology & Your Ministry.