Advertise Your Assembly Online for Free
Not long ago I was visiting an assembly and a guy walked up to me whom I had never seen before. He said, “Did you write that review of this church on Google maps?” I thought for a minute, then remembered that I had.
He then explained that he had recently moved to Holland, Michigan and was looking for a place to worship. As he was searching for churches on Google maps he came across the review I had written and thought he would give it a try. He and his family are now in happy fellowship at Holland Gospel Chapel.
It’s no secret that Google Maps is the new Yellow Pages. People don’t look in the phone book anymore; they search online and read reviews. Just type in your church’s name into Google Maps and you’ll see if there are any reviews. If not, I would encourage you to write one and get others in your assembly to write reviews.
This is easy and free. It used to cost hundreds of dollars a year to get advertising like that in the phone book, but not anymore.
You’ve all seen the “Like us on Facebook” signs on every business from bait shops to car dealerships. It’s hard to believe that people go on Facebook to Like some places, but check any of these business’s Facebook pages out sometime and you will often find that they have hundreds of “likes.” Businesses do this because it works.
But it’s not enough just to have a page, you need to update it with photos and videos. The more you do this, the more people will come to look at your page. With all the smart phones out there, it’s not hard to put these up. Many people want to see what you’re like before they show up in person, and an active Facebook page is one of the best ways to do this. And once again, it’s free!
Other social media sites
Believe it or not, there are actually other social media sites besides Facebook. Okay, you probably knew that. People use Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, LinkedIn, Pintrest, Istagram, Vine as much as they use Facebook. Vk.com, a European social networking site that I hadn’t heard of until I started writing this, has 100 million active users!
This may seem like a lot of sites to keep up with, but talk to some young people with smart phones and you’ll find that they are on them. See if one of them could become your social networking promoter. You could provide links back to your website, and even if people don’t physically come to your church as a result of this, they at least have access to your message. Isn’t that what we are supposed to be all about?
Do you have a website?
Speaking of websites, you have one right? If you don’t, it’s easier than it ever has been. One of the simplest ways to do this is by visiting mySonlight.com, a ministry run by assembly Christians, one of whom happens to be the manager of this website. The site will walk you through how to set up a website step by step.
You don’t have to be an expert, or even tech-savvy. Your website can easily be linked to your social media pages and Google Maps location, and those links are all free.
The website will have a minimal cost of setup and hosting, but it’s well worth it. You can quickly upload your messages on it so anyone can listen. I am in fellowship at a small assembly, but since we upload our messages onto our website we literally double our audience.
Sharing the gospel to the world
One of the best reasons to have a presence on social media and the Internet in general is to share the life-giving message of the gospel. People are increasingly turning to the web to explore their spiritual questions. In a recent article in the New York Times about religious searches on Google, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz writes,
People may not share their doubts with friends, relatives, rabbis, pastors or imams. They inevitably share them with Google. Every year, in the United States, there are hundreds of thousands of pointed questions, most of them coming from the Bible Belt. The No. 1 question in the country is ‘who created God?’ Second is why God allows suffering.
Churches can use their websites and social media pages to share real answers to these difficult questions. If we claim the Bible has the answers, we need to make the answers available to people who are literally searching for them.
God put people in their specific situation in order to find Him, as Acts 17:27 reads, “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” Let’s put the gospel with in reach of the audience by putting it on social media.