Feb 172011

Who are the churches that are good examples of using Facebook and social media well?

[update] I’ve updated this list over at SocialMediaChurch.net, a dashboard of top churches on Facebook with the most likes updated in real-time; cf. the November 2012 list of top church & ministry Facebook pages

church-search Before we dive in, there are different metrics for success and there are different ways of using social media, so it would seem to me to be unfair to make a list with scores or rankings. In other words, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all of how a church should use social media or Facebook.

Social media / Facebook can be used for much more than marketing and broadcasting. Social media gives voice to every person. Social media can give an inside look at the life of a church. The voice of the people, who are the church, can be seen and heard by anyone online, and that can be a far more powerful witness than an organizational one.

Here’s a pseudo-random sampling of churches with big numbers of people who like their Facebook Pages ::

Church Name Facebook Page # Likes
Hillsong Church (London) http://facebook.com/hillsongchurchlondon 70,556
Bethel Church, Redding http://facebook.com/bethel.church.redding 49,559
LifeChurch.tv http://facebook.com/lifechurchtv 41,595
Mars Hill Church (Seattle) http://facebook.com/marshillchurch 31,444
Hillsong Church (Sydney) http://facebook.com/hillsongchurch 26,021
Lakewood Church http://facebook.com/LakewoodChurch 18,852
City Harvest Church (Singapore) http://facebook.com/cityharvestchurch 13,945
Fellowship Church http://facebook.com/fellowshipchurch 13,398
The Redeemed Christian Church of God (Nigeria) http://facebook.com/rccg.org 13,115
The Village Church http://facebook.com/TheVillageChurch 12,712
NewSpring Church http://facebook.com/newspring 12,284
Saddleback Church http://facebook.com/saddlebackchurch 10,680
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church http://facebook.com/NewBirthMBC1 10,623
Gateway Church (Southlake) http://www.facebook.com/gatewaypeople 9,679
Jakarta Praise Community Church (Indonesia) http://facebook.com/jpcchurch 9,647
Willow Creek Community Church http://www.facebook.com/willowcreekcc 9,526
Church of the Highlands http://www.facebook.com/highlands 8,166
Christ’s Church of the Valley http://facebook.com/ccvonline 8,360
Healing Place Church http://facebook.com/healingplacechurch 6,847
St Mary of Zion Ethiopian Orthodox Church via.djchuang.com/stmaryofzion 6,764
Cathedral of Praise (Manila) http://www.facebook.com/cop.manila 6,614
New Life Church http://www.facebook.com/newlifechurch 6,607
Northland, A Church Distributed http://www.facebook.com/northlandchurch 6,252

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Tech notes: The numbers were retrieved around the time of this writing. Ministries are excluded. These churches were found via allfacebook.com leaderboard and Facebook Search and Advanced Search app. These churches were manually found by hand aka “brute-force” so they’re not computationally accurate for a leaderboard. Many of these church’s Facebook pages were actually hard to find. You’d think with the millions on Facebook that there’d be a smarter search engine.

Aside: While these churches are amassing large numbers of likes on their Facebook pages, this might be more of an indicator of church size or mass-appeal popularity, and not necessarily how much social media engagement is happening within that church community nor how much platform & exposure is given to the voices in its church community.

Aside #2: somewhat related: there’s the Church of Facebook book + churches featured for being on Facebook + a list of online churches with internet campuses + a recent Lifeway Research study stating 47% of churches actively use Facebook

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