church Internet Evangelism Day social networking

Internet Evangelism Idea #9: Churches, Be a Tweep and Not a Twit on Twitter

Written by MikeForJesus

This post is part 9 in the series 20 Ways to Share Your Faith Online leading up to Internet Evangelism Day on April 25. We encourage you to tweet, share, blog & discuss these ideas in your church & circle of influence.

Way too many churches, church leaders and pastors are talking to “empty rooms” on Twitter. Jesus intentionally reached out to everyone. He has asked us to do the same.

Intentionally follow EVERYONE who has a blood pressure within 15 to 25 miles of your church. Go to and use Advanced Search. (You’ll find a great post at on how to use this feature.) When I say follow EVERYONE, I mean EVERYONE. Follow EVERYONE within 15 to 25 miles of your church even if their tweets, profile or photo don’t fit into the nice, sweet and comfortable “Christian” box. Why would you follow only Christians or people who go to your church? Step outside the “Christian Ghetto” or “Holy Huddle” when using Twitter.

Intentionally look for tweets from struggling, hurting and broken people. Begin conversations with them by simply sending a tweet that says, “I just said a prayer for you.” There are many people on Twitter who are lonely and living on the edge who simply need just one person to let them know that someone cares. Find a need and fill it. Look for tweets from people who need something. I saw a tweet from a woman who needed a clothes washer. I contacted several of my friends who I knew would want to help. It was great to send a tweet telling her how to get a new washer.

Due to the economy, there are many people who are unemployed, living in poverty, doing without or are struggling to pay their bills. I want to turn over tables when I see pastors and church leaders tweeting about their latest clothing shopping spree, their new I-Pad or the fancy restaurant they are eating lunch at. The amount of foreclosures is breaking records across the country. How does a tweet about the new church building or new carpeting in the sanctuary look to a person who can’t pay their mortgage?

Don’t just tweet potlucks, bible verses or sermon audio links. Use Twitter to connect, engage, converse and share with people who DON’T come to your church or possibly any church. If you are not going to interact with people outside the walls of your church, then don’t bother with Twitter.

Stop tweeting in “Christian-ese”. I cringe when I see pastors or church leaders tweeting in a language that only church insiders or people who just left seminary would understand. Stop tweeting phrases and terms that people who don’t hang out at church 6 to 7 days a week would never understand. Remember this phrase when tweeting: “Don’t be too hip for the room.”

The pics in this post are of people who were not coming to our church. My pastor and I began connecting with them through twitter. They are now regular attendees, coming to small groups and participating in church ministries.

Mike Ellis is a messed up Christ follower. He has been working in promotion and marketing for 31 years. He is not a social media expert but he does know enough to be dangerous. You can connect with Mike through his blog and Twitter.

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  • Excellent post, Mike. I totally agree that the church needs to make sure it's focus is on it's people. While they can be excited to be upgrading things in their building and such, they should be more concerned about the struggles of the people in their community. There needs to be a balance.

    Good idea about the Twitter thing. I haven't done much searching for people. I'll have to figure out how to do that.

  • Great blog Mike! I love that you mention that we need to remember that those we need to reach most are "hurting and broken people". Our communications need to attract both believers and non-believers. Great reminder to all of us that we need to get out of the “Christian Ghetto”.

  • Totally agree with the comments so far. Also loved the plea to not "be too hip for the room." I get frustrated with people who have 184,932 followers and are following 27. That, in effect, says "listen to what I say, but as far as what YOU have to say… good luck with that." Twitter is a form of communication — that communication can't be just one way. The church has done enough of that in the past.

  • So let me see if I've got this right… you're suggesting I actually TALK to people who are not nice, perfect Christians?

    But what if they use some bad language or, you know drink or listen to 'rock music'?

    Would God really want me to associate with people like that?

    Oh, wait, yes, yes he would! Those are exactly the kinds of people Jesus hung out with! Great article from a great man, Mr Ellis!

  • thing 1 here. i'm so happy that i found a church that doesn't care what my beliefs are. my family is accepted 100%. i have NEVER felt so comfortable!! Mike, Tom, and Russell are some of the best guys i know

  • Good ol' traight talk on how to "be the church online." Love it!

    I'm a big fan of "intentionality." Like being on the lookout for prayer needs in the twitter stream. I feel like a twit every time I skim over those. How long does it take to pray anyway?

    Quick story.

    Last month, a person I follow and have interacted with several times tweeted about a difficulty his sister and her family were experiencing while on mission overseas. An unexpected surgery for his brother-in-law had drained their funds. Prayer was requested and a link given to the family's blog.

    It took just a few minutes to read their story, to pray and to offer some encouragement. A few weeks later, I received an email note from the brother-in-law.

    He said they were overwhelmed to get encouragement from someone that didn't even know them. My contact came while he was still in the hospital. He told me that it lifted their spirits tremendously, confirming, as he put it, "that God is going to provide for us here."

    Today, I learned he has healed well and their mission work is underway.

    On intentionally looking for tweets from people asking for prayer, I'm with you Mike. "Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere." Even on twitter.

    PS: Followed you tonight. Would love to have you do a "twit check" from time to time. 🙂

  • Mike, one other really cool thing you did related to twitter that you didn't mention in this post is regular tweet-ups. You get together with a bunch of other twitter users at a coffee shop in the Daytona area on a weekly basis, right?

    I think that's huge. It would be a lot easier just to sit behind a computer screen. But talking with local tweeps in person shows you really care, and I'm guessing its taken those relationships to a whole new level.

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