The Barna Group has released some fascinating data from a new survey of pastors about social media.
- 21% of American pastors say their churches use Twitter, up from only 14% in 2011
- 70% of churches are using Facebook, up from 57% in 2011
Pastors themselves are also engaged in online communications.
- 23% use Twitter
- 66% are on Facebbook
- 25% have a personal blog
Senior Leaders Still Resisting Social Media
One bit of data I find particularly interesting is that while 65% of pastors say they think social media will be a significant part of their ministry over the next two years, 31% say it is overrated and not necessary. Delving a little deeper, 52% of pastors over the age of 66 said social media is mostly overrated.
I think its safe to say as older pastors who are more resistant to social media continue to retire and younger pastors who embrace it take their place, we’ll continue to see an increase in the percentage of churches using social media.
Using vs Realizing Full Potential of Social Media
While the data shows more churches are using social media, the survey does not indicate whether they’re using it well.
In his analysis, Barna President David Kinnaman suggests many are not:
At its best, Twitter helps people have real-time conversations about ideas and events that are important to them. Yet many churches don’t allow for a two-way engagement—using it instead as merely a vehicle for announcements… These platforms should be used to facilitate a conversation, not simply be a broadcast tool.
For what it’s worth, the Barna Group has only posted only 1 @reply to the @BarnaGroup Twitter account in the last month. So, it would seem using social media to facilitate conversations is easier said than done.
What do you take away from this new data? Are you encouraged? Discouraged? Motivated to take any specific action?