Why A Private Social Network Matters For Your Church

I hope that when you think about social media in the church, your first thought is about relationships. If your first thought is ever about promotion then you need to stop and re-assess. And since your first thought should be about relationships, you have to consider that relationship both in a public setting (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), and a private setting. Often times though the private relationship gets left on the back-burner in the social media conversation, but I’d like to talk about why it matters for your church.

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What do I mean by a ‘private relationship’ on social media?
Yes, people are willing to open up publicly on social media, but in my experience people are much more willing to open up in a private conversation on social media. I won’t go into the obvious reasons for this, but it suffices to say that private may be just as valuable as public. So here’s why your church should have a private social network, and which ones are available for you.

Why?
Facebook/Twitter are networks for everyone – Your family, friends (old and new), former classmates, and the list goes on and on. The fact is, when you share something on Facebook you’re casting a wide net, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It serves it’s purpose. But when you want to share a prayer request or need with just the community of people in your church, it might get a little tricky. A private social network just for your church gives your people the ability to connect with each other in a safe setting without having to worry about whether your info is being sold to advertisers, or running the risk of accidentally posting something publicly.

Differences between Private Social Networks & Private Facebook Groups
Private church social networks are tailored specifically for churches. The features and modules that exist are no where to be found in a private Facebook Group. Features such as a Prayer Wall, and a Serving Module, and a Classifieds Board. The extent of private Facebook Groups only go so far as to allow Group chat, walls posts, and uploading of documents.

What are the options for Private Church Social Networks?

  1. The City – This is probably the most well-known and popular option out there. It offers a wide variety of features, but probably the most unique feature is that it integrates with the ACS Database platform. So if your church uses that database then you may want to consider this tool.
  2. The Table – The Table has been an up and coming platform for the past couple years, and it is the one we use at Park. It offers all of the features you would expect, but the biggest kicker is the price…FREE! We all know what it’s like to work on a tight budget, and the fact that this entire platform is offered for free still amazes me. The other killer feature is that it integrates directly with Fellowship One. So if your church uses that tool as your database solution, then this may be the best option for you.
  3. Cobblestone – Cobblestone is built by my good friends over at Monk Development, and it can hold it’s own against the other two platforms I mentioned above. It offers great features like a Prayer Wall, and Needs Module, as well as a great Groups module for small groups. It also integrates nicely with Monk’s CMS, Ekklesia360, so if you’re using that as your website CMS solution, then this might be a good option for you.

In the end it doesn’t really matter which platform you use, as long as you’re considering the impact this could have for your church community. As you know, I’m all in favor of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but I’m almost convinced that every church needs a private place for their community to gather online and share prayers, struggles, needs, and ultimately be the body of Christ. So I would encourage you to check out all three of these platforms and figure out which one is right for your church.

Does your church use a private social network?

What other private church social networks are out there that I didn’t mention above?

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