Facebook offers a place for you to not only share ministry events with those already involved, but to start and grow relationships with people who are not followers of Christ.
First, ask yourself and your team the question, “What do people in my community care about and how can I connect that to ministry?”
Work with your ministry leaders to identify, “what do people want?” Is it language classes? The opportunity to make friends? Career help? Volunteer opportunities?
If you are ministering to people in an area where you cannot be open about your faith, consider a standalone event for the community you are ministering to. This is not an evangelistic event, but the opportunity to build relationships. As you get a deeper sense of where people are at spiritually, you can invite them further into other activities and conversations.
Once you’ve identified the desires of your local community, decide what resources and capacity your team has to offer to these people. If you are trying to reach people who are looking for opportunities to learn and have fun, and you have a teammate who knows how to Salsa dance, perhaps having weekly Salsa dance classes can be a way to start and cultivate a new community in which to conduct your outreach.
Then, use social media to create events and Facebook ads suited to the target audience.
You can create a Facebook event either from your own personal Facebook account, or from your page account.
Invite friends to this event, and remind them as the event approaches.
Identify influencers (such as teammates and others also wanting to create intentional community to share the gospel) and challenge them to invite their friends as well. You may need to send a few reminders to make sure that they do this step.
You may also consider trying Facebook ads to invite people who are not connected to your networks of friends. Remember that unless the event has something of value to the people you’re trying to reach, they will not be interested.
You can check out our training about creating a Facebook ad for more details on how to do this.
If you are building a Facebook page audience, remember to take photos of the event and tag attendees. People love to see their own faces in pictures, so you’ll boost traffic to your Facebook page and this will create momentum for future events.
Cru at UW students traveled to Eastern Washington for fire relief during spring break
Staff members at the University of Washington in Seattle needed to find creative ways to build relationships with nonbelievers, many who were suspicious of Christians and considered faith to be opposed to science and reason. So Cru staff members asked, “What do these people want and how can we use that as an opportunity to connect with them?”
Students of different faith background could connect over shared interests
Students in Seattle were passionate about social justice. They cared about the environment, underprivileged and the needs they saw in the world.
As believers, we also care and want to do something about the needs we see in the world. So the staff organized events to feed the homeless, rebuild homes lost in floods and fires, picked up garbage and organized racial reconciliation discussions with ethnic minority leaders.
The 15 hour road trip from Seattle to San Francisco
enabled a lot of space for deep conversation and fun
Staff and students used these events to invite others to join them, including those not involved in the ministry or those who did not believe in Christ but cared about helping the community. In this way, staff demonstrated they cared about more than themselves and their causes.
One service trip was a road trip to San Francisco during spring break where staff spent time sharing their life stories with students and were able to start meaningful discussions throughout the trip. These service events were some of the most successful evangelistic initiatives Cru staff at U-Dub had and those students who didn't come to know Christ, came to trust the staff more and then brought friends to events.
Doing these activities together builds friendships
One student told staff, “you guys are some of the most accepting people I've ever met. And I love being a part of this community.” He still hasn't trusted Christ yet, but staff were able to share the gospel message with him many times and were able to continually demonstrate Christ’s love.
Facebook now allows you to set up an ad where people can instantly message you to respond. This kind of ad works well over a short period of time when you are available to message people back. Learn how to create one here.
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