I live, eat and breathe social media for a living. While you probably don’t, there are for sure valuable lessons to be learned from the social media landscape that can be applied to your church.

I’m not a marketer by trade, but I’ve been a relatively active user of various social media platforms since I first heard that AOL Instant Messenger door creak open for the first time when I was in elementary school.

A Brief Word of Introduction

I heavily advocate for the use of social media in the ministry of the local church. The local church is wise to engage in social media.

This is not my opinion of a debatable topic.

This is not just a fad that is going to go away.

The prevalence of social media in life is too great for the Church to not participate.

It is objectively unwise for a church to neglect social media “because they just don’t feel like it” or something of the sort.

Social media is a mission field. Don’t neglect it. Flood it with the love of Jesus.

As I work in social media, consider my call to pastor the local Church, and look at ways in which the Church can better understand, reach, and serve Millennials, I realize how important social media is to the way in which we do ministry.

Pastors, even if you nor your church are active on social media (though you should be), it must be on your radar.

I’m not social media’s biggest fan. I spend most of my time every day on blogs or other forms of social media, and the noise, the trolls, the pettiness, it can all get really annoying. I think some invest too much time in social media in a narcissistic sort of way, but I think it is unwise for the pastor and the local church to ignore social media wholesale.

Like I said, over the course of the next couple of months, my hope is to highlight social media once a week and point pastors to its importance. But first, here are three reasons why ministries MUST use social media, or at least consider doing so:

1. You need to be where your people are.

The people in your church or ministry are on social media. As of January 2014, 74% of all Internet users use social media. That number is staggering. Say you pastor a church of 300 attenders. Approximately 87% of American adults use social media, which means 261 of your regular attenders use the Internet. Out of your 261 regular attenders, 193 of them use social media regularly.

Pastors and ministry leaders, if you and/or your ministry do not have some sort of presence on social media, you are non-existent in a world in which over HALF of your people spend 16 minutes of every hour of their day!

If the Internet is a whole new world, social media is a continent within that world, and you must be present there, especially if you want to reach Millennials, 90% of which use social media.

2. You need to communicate with your people more effectively.

Blogs are a form a social media, and are great tools for ministries and churches. They can simply act as a virtual bulletin board for your ministry, but they can be much more as well. Blogs can be an easy, effective way to share devotional thoughts with your people throughout the week.

The prevalence of social media in life is too great for the Church to not participate.

Even more, a ministry Facebook page or Twitter account allows people in your ministry to contact you quickly, and without having to call pastors as they try to go on dates with their wives or coach their kid’s soccer games. Social media is a great avenue of communication for the church and ministries in general.

3. You need to be reaching out to people.

The local church is not a business—I am the first one to say that. But take this into consideration: 70% of marketers used Facebook to gain new customers. If Facebook (and other social media platforms) are avenues for business outreach, surely they can be modes of church outreach, right?

I’m not saying you need to be “street evangelizing” on social media (though that’s not awful), but sharing ministry events, encouraging Bible verses, and other things can be a great way for you to minister to your community and your people.

Social media is a mission field. Don’t neglect it. Flood it with the love of Jesus.

Back to blogs for a moment. As I have blogged in various forms over the years, I have had at least one or two dozen people contact me from whom I have not heard in YEARS, thanking me for blogging and encouraging me to keep writing. Hearing that I encouraged someone who I figured had forgotten I existed is the greatest joy I have in blogging. When a friend tells me she and her co-workers discuss my blog at work, or when another friend writes to say he’s not a Christian, but he’s encouraged by my writing—THAT is why I blog.

Similarly, pastors and ministry leaders, blogs can be a form of outreach and encouragement for your communities. You may feel like no one reads (I often feel this way) and like you’re wasting your time, but even the simplest of blogs can encourage people and show them the love of Christ.