Churches Saying ‘Hallelujah’ to Facebook
When it comes to social networking, churches in the United States are getting religion.
Nearly half of Protestant churches in the country (47 percent) are active users of Facebook, a new survey shows. However, 40 percent of Protestant churches don’t use any social networking tools at all.
Those findings were part of a survey of 1,003 Protestant congregations conducted by LifeWay Research and sponsored by Fellowship Technologies. Protestant denominations include Baptist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Mormon and Presbyterian.
“Churches are natural places of interaction,” said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. “Congregations are rapidly adopting social networking, not only to speed their own communication, but also to interact with people outside their church.”
Large churches use Facebook far more than small ones, according to the survey.
Eighty-one percent of congregations with average attendance of at least 500 at worship services use Facebook, compared with 27 percent of churches with one to 49 attendees. Forty-three percent of churches with 50 to 99 attendees use Facebook, as do 46 percent of churches with 100 to 199 attendees and 56 percent of churches with 200 to 499 attendees.
Large-city and suburban churches are more likely than their small-city and rural counterparts to use Facebook. While 57 percent of suburban and 54 percent of large-city churches use it, only 46 percent of small-city congregations and 39 percent of rural churches are on Facebook.
Among churches that use social networking tools, 73 percent use them to interact with the congregations, 70 percent to distribute news and information, 52 percent to foster member-to-member interaction and 41 percent to manage the church's group ministry.
A majority (62 percent) of churches that have embraced social networking tools use them to interact with people outside their congregations.
“Social networking tools have become an integral part of most people’s daily lives and relationships,” said Curtis Simmons, vice president for marketing and community at Fellowship Technologies, a developer of software for churches.Continued on the next page