Facebook as a way to strengthen your Ministry

Hi… My name is Roy Yabuki… I am one of the moderators of this blog and I am excited about the prospect of sharing some really cool things with you all about what people are doing in international student ministry and some useful ways to use technology as a way to multiply your ministry capabilities and as a way to better relate to more students at a deeper level. I am

Last week I had the honor of sharing on a conference call sponsored by ISI’s training department about leveraging technology in international student ministry. In chatting with our local staff in Dallas, who are not tech experts by any means but they use whatever helps their ministry, it was felt that two subjects that needed to be talked about in order of least importance were using ISI’s e-mail outlook exchange system and using facebook to augment ministry.

The presence of facebook has truly changed the way we all do ministry today. In the past, the only way to connect with students outside of planned meetings and one on one appointments was through wandering around campus. I remember days when if one cruised around the library, one was sure to meet up with several students to informally reconnect and introduce you to their friends. With the advent of computers, it then became the computer room. There were always students there. Now, as more and more students spend more time online, doing their research, connecting with people back home, the need for a way to connect online has become more and more important.

In response for this need to connect was met by the social networking sites like Facebook. According to Groundswell, the leading research firm specializing in the social web, nearly 75% of all people 18-24 in the United States are a part of some sort of participative web medium including social networking sites like Facebook. Their findings are quite similar for other countries as well. If you talk to any international student who has been here for more than a few months, most of them will have a facebook account, using it to share pictures, stay in touch… connect. Many of the don’t ever turn their facebook off so they can keep up with what is going on with their friends. Not unlike when we used to walk around the library 10 years ago and computer rooms 5 years ago, this is the way to informally stay in touch with students.

If you want to learn more about how to use facebook in ministry. One very important resource is a free electronic book produced by Chris Forbes called Facebook for Pastors. It begins with the rationale for using facebook but it doesn’t end there. It goes into the “how to’s” of using facebook. Finally, it finishes with testimonies by actual ministers and ministries explaining how they have creatively used facebook to strengthen their ministry. That section alone is worth its weight in gold as some people have been really creative in their use of facebook to build community. As he puts it…

How to build relationships and connect with people using the most popular social network on the Internet. This 31 page e-book will help Pastors and other ministry leaders make the most of this great networking tool.

Get the e-book here free

http://ministrymarketingcoach.com/free-e-books/

While he does not specifically address international student ministries, what he says is truly relevant to what we do… This is a must read for international student campus ministers young and old. (my 82 year old dad just got on facebook to stay up with us…)

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